BERWYN >> While many teams battled rain delays and reschedulings during the early part of the week, the Conestoga lacrosse team faced the opposite problem — a layoff spanning eight days since their last regular-season contest.
However, the Pioneers were able to take advantage of the extra rest, besting Boyertown 14-4 at Teamer Field Thursday afternoon, and advancing to Saturday’s District 1-AAA quarterfinals — another home game for ‘Stoga.
“We worked a few kinks out in the first half,” said Conestoga coach Brody Bush, “but I thought we played well for not having played in a week. We’d never played Boyertown before — that’s a good, rising program.”
Boyertown, who ended a breakthrough season at a record of 11-8, endured a cancellation of Tuesday’s first-round game with Council Rock North before topping the Indians, 9-6 in Wednesday’s makeup at Pottsgrove High. That marked the first district victory in Boyertown boys lacrosse history.
“We want to play the best teams out there,” said Boyertown coach Grady Wise. “(Conestoga) is in contention for a state title, and I’m glad we got to test ourselves against one of the best.”
For victorious ‘Stoga (15-4), the win extends the No. 4-seeded Pioneers’ winning streak to 13 games and sets up a quarterfinal showdown Saturday with No. 5 Spring-Ford back at Teamer Field.
Saturday’s winner automatically qualifies for the PIAA-AAA state tournament, while the losing team will do battle with either Avon Grove or Pennridge for a spot in states.
Will Schnorr had a hand in the Pioneers’ first four scores, registering a first-half hat trick for the Pioneers and assisting on Tate Kienzle’s strike at the end of the first quarter. The Kienzle goal was the highlight, as goalie Scott MacMillan cleared the ball beyond midfield to a streaking Schnorr, who found a cutting Kienzle for the tally.
Schnorr closed out the hat trick with a left-handed blast about a minute later. Nick Braendel also registered a first-half goal for Conestoga.
Boyertown stayed within striking distance thanks to the heroic performance of senior goalie Cole Metzger, who turned away a dozen first-half Pioneer shots. Time and again, especially in the second quarter, the potent ‘Stoga attack came away frustrated after another fruitless venture into the offensive zone.
“This is what Cole has done all year — simply, keep the ball out of the net,” said Wise. “He’s a team leader and the cornerstone of the defense.”
On the other end, Mike Prestipino led a ferocious Conestoga defense that limited the Bears to three first-half shots, all turned aside by goalie Scott MacMillan.
Brewer Johnson got the Bears on the board at 10:59 of the third quarter with a hard shot from the side of the box. Stoga’s James Reilly (12-for-12 on faceoffs) proved too tough at the X, however, as the Pioneers pulled away, scoring seven unanswered goals to close out the third quarter.
In all, Schnorr and Kienzle each finished with four goals and an assist. MacMillan finished with seven saves.
Skylar Wallace, Nick Moccia and Carter Watts added fourth-quarter markers for the Bears, while Metzger finished with a remarkable 21 saves. The Immaculata-bound senior put up a performance lauded by even the Conestoga players after the game.
“Despite the loss, I think we leave on a great note,” the goalie said following his final game in a Bears uniform. “I’ve always wanted to play against a top team, and we gave ourselves that opportunity.
“We competed well, and overall I think it builds momentum for next year.”