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After a mental reset to zero, Garnet Valley cruises to win

Downingtown West's goalie Owen Karp makes a save on Garnet Valley's Mitch Lachman (10) in the first quarter Tuesday. Garnet Valley won the resumption of the teams' District 1 Class 3A first round game Wednesday, 14-4. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

CONCORD >> With five goals in their favor and 20-some hours to stew it over, the clichés actually served Garnet Valley well Wednesday afternoon. Thinking that its playoff game against Downingtown West, resuming after a lightning-induced suspension Tuesday night, was a 0-0 affair held practical value for the 15th-seeded Jaguars.

It also helped the Jaguars pick up right where they left off.

Ten Jaguars found the net, and the defense pitched a shutout for nearly three quarters in a 14-4 handling of No. 18 seed Downingtown West in the protracted first round of the District 1 Class 3A boys lacrosse tournament.

Garnet Valley’s Jon Ricci carries past Downingtown West’s Joshua Toth during the first quarter of a game against Downingtown West Tuesday. Disrupted by weather, the game resumed Wednesday and Garnet Valley went on to a 14-4 win. Ricci scored a goal on that second day. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

The win moves the Jags (11-8) into the second round of the tournament Thursday afternoon against No. 2 Central Bucks East, which got a first-round bye. Befitting the wackiness of the schedule disrupted by inclement weather across the region, the Jags Wednesday finished the game, which featured a running clock at junctures in the second half, dropped their sticks and readied for a walk-through to prep for the Patriots.

“We had to make sure we were ready and get ready to go again,” attackman Jake Morin said. “We couldn’t slack off because we were up 5-0. It was still practice for tomorrow either way. … You’ve got to make sure you don’t think it’s over so that you’re ready to come out the next time.”

The Jags’ attack, led by a goal and an assist from Hunter Baar Tuesday night, staked GV to a 5-0 lead after one quarter. But the defense brought it home Wednesday with its lights-out play that limited the Whippets to a mere 13 shots in the game. Garnet Valley was up 12-0 before Downingtown West (10-8) got its breakthrough on offense, courtesy of long pole Gavin Rossman in transition, in the final minute of the third quarter.

Garnet Valley goalie Jason Rose left after three quarters with four saves and just the one blemish, thanks to the effort of the defense in front of him.

“We were fired up and ready to go from start to finish,” defender Austin Patton said. “It adds a little more motivation when you have to come out and it’s rainy and not the best weather, so it’s more motivation to come out here.”

The starting defense of Patton, Aidan Berry, Tyler Davis and freshman Sam Morin was constantly in the hands of Downingtown West attackers, making sure they couldn’t generate any extended possession and causing turnovers at will. The Jaguars won 17 of 22 faceoffs, led by a 14-for-19 day for Adam Oldrati and three wins by Sam Morin in as many draws, to dictate the game.

“They dominated the faceoff X and controlled the ball, controlled the tempo of the game,” Downingtown West coach Billy Davis said.

That allowed space for Garnet Valley to get all of its attackers in the mix. Danny Bradley paired two goals with an assist. Mitch Lachman, Nate Ominsky and Bryce Stansfield scored twice each. Bishop Barnes, Danny Laird, John Ricci and Cole D’Annunzio also scored for GV.

Only 10 saves from West freshman Owen Karp kept the Whippets in touch. Tyler Wolverton led Downingtown with a goal and an assist.

But the tenacity of the Garnet Valley defense carried the day. And with that came the next task, an “on to the next one” mentality that the Jaguars had to pull out of the arsenal a little earlier than expected.

“Just kind of getting into playoff mode,” Patton said. “We know it’s the start of a new season, so we just want to come out ready to go and be really focused. It was nice to have kind of a game under our belt, so we kind of get that confidence and ready to work on our game.”

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