Pretty hectic first round of District One play with only the Haverford girls’ season coming to an end via a 16-9 loss to Kennett. Tomorrow’s second round might actually provide some of the best matchups because everything is on the line. Lose and you’re done. Win and your season is still alive even with a later loss because of playbacks. I took in the Garnet Valley boys’ 11-3 win over Strath Haven, so here are some thoughts on that, plus a look elsewhere.
– The Jaguars showed really quickly why they will be such a tough out. Only leading 3-2 at the half thanks to an incredible 12-save half from Panthers goalie Ted Bergman, GV never panicked. Instead, the Jaguars just kept on wearing down a somewhat-thin Haven defense. That’ll come with the territory when Zach Penfil and Mike Lanham win 17 of 18 faceoffs. It’s been said before, but they’re the best duo in the state. If one’s ever having a bad day, it’s no big deal, but those bad days don’t come by often. That’s another reason why I picked GV to make the state tournament. Possession is so key.
– You can’t fault Bergman for losing steam down the stretch. Aside from being relentlessly fired on by the Jaguars, he didn’t have much of a chance on a good number of goals because they were such well-placed shots. Brock D’Annunzio overcame first-half frustrations to zip home three of his four second-half goals to lead the way. One shot in particular jetted into a corner barely bigger than a ball. Perfect rip.
“It’s very hard (to not get frustrated). (Bergman) stoned me, like, seven times in the first quarter,” D’Annunzio said exasperatedly. “But you wait and you wait and finally it starts clicking. Once you get into a groove, it goes and then you really start cranking them out.”
“It was a great look by Rob (Raucci),” D’Annunzio said. “He was looking for me all game. When you get a shot like that, you just feel great and you’re just, like, ‘now I think we can start pulling away.'”
– Raucci gets a good deal of credit for his scoring accomplishments, but there really isn’t a better off-ball attackman in Delco. Short stick middie Nolan DiRienzi did a phenomenal job on him in the first half and not so coincidentally, the Jaguars only had three goals. But GV started doing a better job of moving the Saint Joseph’s signee around and because of it, everyone got more involved. Raucci’s stats don’t always jump off the page, but when the chips are down and the Jaguars need a big play, he’s always lurking and always a part of it.
“My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball,” said Raucci, who finished with two goals and two assists. “I just tried to create space and get a good shot. I didn’t get many shots off, but since he was locking me, I just tried to get open as much as I could and then take advantage of when I had the ball because I knew I wasn’t going to get it that much.”
Penncrest nips Wissahickon
…and a big part of that was thanks to Dylan “Not Just A FOGO” Protesto. The junior proved that he’s, well, not just a FOGO yet again by burying a hat trick to help the Lions seal a 6-5 win. As you’ll read in Thursday’s preview, Penncrest is missing its second-leading scorer in Drew Hanna, so the Lions need alternate sources of scoring after Will Manganiello. Protesto’s final line of three goals and a 13-for-18 day at the X will do.
– The Penncrest coaches seem awfully high on freshman Alex Bonnett and it’s not hard to see why. He seems to find a way to come through in big games. He had the winner in an 11-10 victory over Downingtown East in the regular-season finale and scored again against the Trojans. Bright future.
Springfield, Ridley roll
– Not much left to say when teams combined to pound a pair of low seeds 37-7. On the Green Raiders’ side, how about defenseman Nick Eufrasio ripping home a goal to punctuate the blowout win? Always nice to see long poles getting on the scoresheet, much like when John Lyman also tallied an assist.
– I’ve said several times this year that Ridley needs to find scoring and it’s starting to look like the Green Raiders are finding their groove offensively. Dalton George‘s return to the lineup has been a help. George is a big boost, but Kelton Heverly has also picked things up lately. He led Ridley in scoring in the regular season, but he also had four goals against Methacton, so he’s rolling at the right time.
“Kelton has been playing very strong of late,” Ridley assistant coach Doug Ellers said. “He’s a very good shooter and he’s become a very good all-around attackman and middie this year. We’re very happy with him.”
– Might be to safe to say that Mark Gurenlian noticed his name was missing on the All-Central League teams. The Springfield FOGO went nuts for the Cougars as he ripped home four goals to go with his ho-hum 12-for-14 day at the faceoff X. Vince Marra also went bananas with four goals and three helpers, while Dan Smyth helped lock down Upper Merion’s Trevor Kupecky.
Your turn, girls
– I mean, there’s really not all that much to say when everyone but Haverford was involved in games as competitive as a hammer vs. a nail. Strath Haven’s Morgan Glassford did her usual thing, racking up 11 points in a 20-5 bludgeoning of Springfield (Montco). No one needs to give her a road map to help find the net.
– One number that jumped out to me was 23, as in the amount of goals scored by Garnet Valley in a 23-8 drubbing of Souderton. Ashley Pyle matched Glassford by totaling a career-high 11 points. The West Chester signee has quietly had a very good, consistent season and she’s at the forefront of an emerging GV offense alongside Haley Warden, who had nine points, and Emily Mathewson, who had four goals.
– As you might expect, Radnor got the chance to sub early and often in a 17-2 whacking of Upper Merion. Nice to see Sara Curley go off, though. She had three goals and four assists and it’s a big confidence booster for her. The Red Raiders will need her to come up with big goals down the stretch, so it’s a step forward.
– Frankly, I’ve run out of superlatives to describe two-time Springfield All-Delco Alex Poplawski. Honestly, what can be said anymore that hasn’t been said? She had 10 – 10!!!! – draw controls to go with her five goals in a 19-7 rout of Council Rock South. That’s out of this world. Don’t let me convince you. Ask Cougars coach Keith Broome, he of the 307 career wins.
“That’s an amazing number,” Broome said. “A good day is three. A great day is five. She’s playing well in all facets of the game.”
Another standout that doesn’t get the credit she should, though, is defender Emily Verica. She spearheads a solid defense and tends to fly under the radar like a lot of defenders do. Not under Broome’s radar, though.
“Emily Verica played well defensively,” Broome said. “She caused some turnovers. C.R. South had the ball in our end several times and I thought we did a nice job of pressuring them and forcing turnovers without fouling. That’s big in the playoffs. If you foul, you give up shots and we didn’t do that (Tuesday).
– Don’t have any extra stuff from Haverford, but good on Olivia Martin for scoring her 100th career goal to cap her career. Read Harry Chaykun‘s story and you’ll come to expect good things for the Fords in the future, despite graduating players like Martin and Amanda Case.
I’ll be at Ridley tomorrow to watch the Green Raiders try to defy my prediction that they’ll lose to Avon Grove. Should be a hotly-contested battle. Harry will be at Pennsbury-Springfield. I’m always taking updates from other games on Twitter @MattChandik.