By Karen Sangillo
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/31/22
Many would call this an upset – even Garnet Valley’s Andrew Goldt admitted his Jaguars were an “underdog” coming into their PIAA 3A opener today at La Salle.
But after a slow start, visiting Garnet Valley, the District 1 fifth place team, earned a 7-6 victory over the Catholic League champion Explorers in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A tournament.
“We prepared over Memorial Day for this,” said Jags’ sophomore Goldt, who scored three goals. “We just came out here and played our game. That’s the best we could ask for.
“We came out here as the underdog and I think we just really wanted it. Everyone was doing their part, playing their role. We started sticking it in the net and then we just tried to keep calm and finish it out.
“We’re really pumped up for the next round.”
Garnet Valley (18-6) will meet District 3 runner-up Cumberland Valley – a 12-8 winner over Unionville – in the quarterfinals Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
Things started off pretty well for La Salle, the District 12 champion. Jack Pilling, Jack Vandegrift and Andrew Kelly netted the first goals of the game to give the Explorers a 3-0 lead with 2:34 to go.
But Goldt knocked out a pair of quick goals in the final 1:21 to end the first period with La Salle clinging to a 3-2 lead.
Goldt netted the first goal of the second quarter and Like Mignoni added to the tally to give Garnet Valley its first lead of the day, 4-3.
It didn’t last long. Kelly put one in for the Explorers to tie it up, but again, that was short-lived, as Max Busenkell scored for the Jaguars. Vandegrift and Ryan Nealon of Garnet Valley traded goals, so the period ended with Garnet holding on, 6-5.
Joey Halloran scored what would prove to be the game winner for Garnet Valley three minutes into the fourth quarter. Vandegrift scored with 2:56 to go, but the Explorers weren’t able to score again before time expired.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of our boys,” said GV coach Frank Urso. “They believed!”
Sophomore goaltender Andrew Keaveney made seven saves in goal for Garnet Valley.
“I definitely felt the pressure, especially in the last minute,” Keaveney said. “They had the ball and they were coming at us. Our defense did a great job. Our defense is solid. I think coming into the season that’s what everyone thought was going to be our weak point, but I think it’s one of our strengths.
“This win really gives us confidence. I can’t wait for the next game.”
It is the second year in a row that La Salle has exited the state tourney in the first round.
“There were some opportunities we didn’t capitalize on, a couple dropped passes,” La Salle coach Robert Forster said. “It was hot out. Our guys were sucking wind but so were they.
“A credit to their defense. They did a good job of mixing up man and zone. They won their one-on-one matchups and we didn’t, and their goalie did a great job.”
Forster offered no excuses.
“We made some mental mistakes that you can’t make against a good team,” he said. “They took advantage of their opportunities, they scored a couple of goals off of rebounds.
“I thought we did a good job defensively. Just offensively, we couldn’t get it going in the second half.”
Garnet Valley 7, La Salle 6
La Salle 3-2-1-0- 6
Garnet Valley 2-4-1-0- 7
Garnet Valley – Andrew Goldt, 3 goals
Max Busenkell, 1 goal, 1 assist
Luke Mignoni, 1 goal
Ryan Nealon, 1 goal
Joey Halloran, 1 goal
Andrew Keaveney, 7 saves
Jack Vandegrift, 3 goals
Andrew Kelly, 2 goals
Jack Pilling, 1 goal
Charlie Huntley, 2 assists
Franky Fix, 1 assist
Matt Nelson, 3 saves