BOYERTOWN >> Perkiomen Valley head coach Bryan Churchey has been around long enough to know that lacrosse is founded on much more than just one-on-one.
Yet, defensively, that’s been the Vikings’ approach all season.
Utilizing their size and speed in the midfield, Perkiomen Valley played stout on defense and controlled the transition on their way to a 12-4 win over Boyertown on Thursday afternoon.
“We have a lot of athletes down there,” said Churchey of the defensive midfield, “and I think that’s why teams struggle against us. You’ve got to be able to beat us one-on-one and that’s extremely difficult to do. And even when you do, we’ve got a great team defense behind us and a great goalie (Kevin Mo) that really makes it difficult to score.”
With the win, the senior-laden Vikings remain unbeaten in the Pioneer Athletic Conference at 7-0 (11-2 overall). Boyertown drops to 4-3 in the PAC and now 7-7 overall.
All season long, their defense has been Perkiomen Valley’s bread and butter. The Vikings have only allowed more than five goals once (a 9-7 loss against Ridley) but also have two shutouts to their credit.
“We almost have our entire defense back from last year minus one or two poles,” said Mo, who finished with 10 saves in the PV goal. “It’s really nice to have that cohesiveness — we watched film, we lifted together all offseason. We’ve all been meshing together really well so far this season.”
On a day where the offense struggled to set up shop, the Viking defense was creating opportunities throughout. Midway through the third quarter, as the Boyertown attack was at the peak of his wind-up, PV midfielder Kyle Beaudoin knocked it loose and took it the length of the field where Max Nice finished on the break to make it 5-0.
“We’ve been a little hot and cold on offense,” said Churchey, “but we’ve been able to count on our defense. Today we were just slow. We have the weapons — we have the shooters, we have the feeders. We need to be more disciplined on our offensive approach.”
Senior attack Matt Dudley scored a career-high four goals to lead Perk Valley’s charge offensively while Brian Fehr notched two goals and a pair of assists.
“Those grinder goals. Gotta get in there and get dirty sometimes,” said Dudley, who scored on a textbook feed in transition from Richie Marshall late in the third quarter. “We like to push the transition a lot. That’s been the way we’ve gotten a lot of our goals this season.”
After being shutout for the first 32 minutes, Boyertown seemed to find its spark during the fourth quarter.
“Our offense wasn’t clicking,” said Boyertown head coach Grady Wise. “That’s a recipe for a lack of success. We couldn’t find our flow on offense, which has been our Achilles heel all season.”
The Bears struck for three of their four goals in the final 12 minutes, with Mason Turner, Christian Hellriegel (assist), Chris Moccia and Zach Derstine each posting a goal. Goalkeeper Mark Frederickson finished with 12 saves to his credit.
Senior attack Jason Clinton was sidelined dealing with a hand injury. Wise couldn’t confirm full details of the injury but expects him to be out at least another week.
Perks and Valleys
Perk Valley has dominated the matchup with Boyertown in recent years. Since losing to the Bears in the semifinal round of the 2013 PAC playoffs, PV has rattled off now seven straight in the matchup with a 89-39 scoring advantage.
Mentor vs. Apprentice
Saturday’s game between Perk Valley and Bishop Shanahan will pit Churchey against longtime mentor and friend Jon Heisman. Churchey coaches the Black Bears Lacrosse 2017 Team during the offseason while Shanahan head coach Heisman coaches the Black Bear 2018 AA Team.
“I’ve known John for 10 years,” said Churchey, “and he’s taught me a lot about lacrosse and coaching and the off-field aspects. I wouldn’t be where I am without John. So I always look forward to the opportunity to play against him.”