SOUTH COVENTRY >> Jacob Greiner is just a sophomore, but the West Chester East attacker has already given Owen J. Roberts multiple doses of post-season agita.
Greiner scored four goals in succession and seven of his team’s first 11 to propel the 18th seeded Vikings to a 16-8 road triumph over the 15th seeded Wildcats on Tuesday in round one of the District 1 3A boys’ lacrosse tournament. Exactly a year ago, also in the playoff opener, Greiner scored four times in the first game of his varsity career against the ’Cats.
“Jacob did not play a game for me last year,” said East head coach Jim Schorn. “He was such a small kid for a freshman. But I sat two seniors for the first round of Districts last year and he got in and played great.”
With the win, the Vikings improve to 11-8 overall and advance to round two to take on second-seeded Garnet Valley on Thursday. Owen J. Roberts’ season ends at 11-9.
“(East) had a good game plan and we didn’t execute ours,” said Wildcats’ head coach Ben Carville.
“It hurts. But the season ends the same way for everybody except one team, and that’s with a loss. We thought with the way we played in the second half of season, we were primed and ready to make a push. Unfortunately, a lack of depth and a lack of playmaking was our downfall.”
Greiner was clearly a standout against OJR once again, and he got everybody’s attention with a spectacular, no-look, wrap-around goal where he flipped a shot over his shoulder midway through the first half.
“He’s a great player and there’s times where it’s like he flips a switch and goes off,” said teammate Joe Corrozza.
“Jacob’s been struggling lately,” Schorn added. “But he’s been coming in at 5:45 in the morning before school working on his shooting. He is a critical part of our offense.”
And Greiner didn’t just have a few spectacular moments, or just score in bulk. No, Greiner accounted for several important, momentum-altering goals. Like early in the second half, after the Wildcats had scored two in a row and were eying a big comeback, Greiner notched a back-breaker from teammate Matt Dunkel. It was his seventh, and final, goal of the contest, and it was the first of five straight by East to demoralize Owen J. Roberts.
“We were slow in transition, and (East) moved the ball well down the field,” Carville said.
“All season my teammates have been finding me, and I’ve struggled a little bit to finish, but tonight I got even more chances than normal and capitalized on them,” Greiner said.
Greiner and company sent a barrage of shots toward the Owen J. Roberts cage and goalie J.C. Capaldo all evening, particularly in the first half. At the half, the Viking had an 18-7 edge in shots on goal.
“We have the talent and when we play together, it is a lot of fun,” Greiner said.
“We have some real athletic middies and smart attacker who can control the ball,” added Corrozza, who scored three times. “We can go fast when we want.”
The Wildcats grabbed an early lead with goals by Logan Clefish and Joey Tordone in the opening four minutes, but the Vikings quickly fought to take command with nine tallies in a row, and Jacob Greiner was the catalyst. The sophomore scored six during the run to help turn a one-goal deficit into a 10-3 advantage at the half.
Following a pair of timeouts, Owen J. Roberts’ Austin Koury finally ended the onslaught with about two minutes remaining in the half as the ’Cats scored with a man-advantage. Then Tordone scored again in the first minute of the third quarter, but that’s when Greiner struck again.
“That was a big turning point,” Carville acknowledged. “Lacrosse is a game of runs. (East) got its run and we didn’t answer. They answered ours and ran with theirs.”
Owen J. Roberts did finish strong, outscoring West Chester East 3-0 in the final period, but it was too late. Koury finished the contest with 21 wins out of 27 total faceoffs, but it didn’t translate into much offensively.
“We’ve now won the first game of the playoffs for two years in a row and it shows we are turning the program around,” Greiner said.
“We are athletic, especially on defense, so if we are unselfish, we can play and we’ll be good.,” Schorn added. “But if we turn into a selfish team, we will lose to Garnet Valley.”
West Chester East 16, Owen J. Roberts 8
W.C. East 4 6 6 0 – 16
Owen J. Roberts 2 1 2 3 – 8
W.C. East goals: Dunkel 2, Greenbelt, Corrozza 3, Delaney, Greiner 7, Roth, Hirsh.
Owen J. Roberts goals: Calle 2, Clefish 2, Tordone 3, Koury.
Goalie saves: Pugh (WCE) 7; Capaldo (OJR) 11.