Every team experiences some heartbreak. But the source of that heartbreak isn’t usually one team time after time.
It has been for the Perkiomen Valley boys lacrosse team. Owen J. Roberts has always simply had their number, ending their Pioneer Athletic Conference championship pursuit the past three seasons in the league semifinals.
That is in the past though, never more clearly than Tuesday night when the Vikings put on a dominant defensive performance and saw their offense ignite in the second half in a 9-3 win over Owen J. Roberts.
“It feels great. This team has always been our kryptonite,” senior defender Nick Marren said. “This year we were able to come out on top and put up big numbers against them.”
Shawn Coulter led the offense with three goals and two assists and Matt Dudley scored twice as PV turned a narrow 2-1 halftime lead into a one-sided finish. Single goals were tallied by Mario Scotese, Richie Marshall, Connor Willey and Kyle Beaudoin. Joey Tordone had two goals and an assist for the Wildcats.
“I’ve never felt better. It’s been too long. Three years is too long,” Coulter said, referring to the last time PV defeated OJR (a 14-5 win on April 23, 2014).
Perkiomen Valley improves to 5-1 (3-0 PAC) – their lone loss a 9-7 defeat to Ridley on April 8 – and with a senior group that’s been building toward this year, the Vikings look like a bunch ready to end the run of heartbreak.
“We came into this year knowing we’re a strong team overall,” Coulter said. “I feel like now we can really make a run.”
— Austin Hertzog (@AustinHertzog) April 12, 2017
The PV defense has been lights out all season, allowing the opposition more than four goals just once. Senior goalie Kevin Mo (12 saves) was at it again with the support of Marren, Remy Sell, Sam Bonavita, Connor Donovan, Kyle Beaudoin and Rasheed May in front of him in allowing OJR just one full-strength goal.
“We were making big stops on defense and just waiting for the offense to put it in. Second half we came out with an intensity and started putting them in and our defense stood strong,” Marren said. “It’s the same group as last year and we were able to be together all offseason, watching film, learning new defenses, locking down the basics of everything. We trust each other now and it’s nice having that.”
Ultimately, Coulter and the offense would find their rhythm.
“In the first half our defense played outstanding but the offense was having a tough time putting the ball in the back of the net. We talked it over at halftime, talked where to shoot and started canning it.
“Our defense played great, just like they have the entire season.”
From 2-1 at the half, PV ran off three straight, a key swing coming with Mo breaking up a 1-on-1 break that turned into Marshall scoring in transition. Dudley and Coulter matched to make it 5-1 with 3:02 left in the third.
OJR benefitted from an illegal stick penalty and got it within 5-3 on a Logan Clefish goal with 10:41 to play. But it was all PV down the stretch.
“In the third and fourth quarters we had transition opportunities and goals that were due to conditioning and stick work,” Coulter said.
For first-year OJR coach Ben Carville, a former assistant to Jeff Neese, there was no cause for alarm after the result.
“We had a couple key injuries to important players, especially defensively, and that put us in a tough spot,” Carville said. “They played with more intensity, grit and hustle. That’s something we’ve got to find in ourselves going forward. We’ve had good games against good teams but we got outworked tonight.”
With new systems in place, he still sees the Wildcats (2-1, 3-4) rounding into form.
“We have a plan and our plan has been successful at times. We have a younger team in spots and we have a new system and guys are learning. We’re finding our footing with it. It’s maybe one of the cardinal sins, to scratch everything you do and reconfigure everything
“It’s been a quick turnaround and the guys have answered the call for the most part. I’m not concerned. We just have to go back to work. And sometimes you need a little medicine to wake you up.”
NOTES >> Max Nice added an assist for PV … Austin Koury scored a goal for OJR. Goalie JC Capaldo registered eight saves.
Elsewhere across the PAC
Methacton 14, Upper Merion 4 >> Stanley Kolimago led Methacton with five goals and one assist as the Warriors improved to 4-4 overall (3-1 PAC) with a home win over Upper Merion.
Kyle Kacala added three goals and one assist as the Warriors opened an 8-3 halftime lead and extended it with a 5-0 third quarter en route to the final score of 14-4. Senior Harvey Smith had five saves while allowing three goals in the winning effort.
Upper Merion’s Nick Freda scored twice.