Fueled by Riccardo’s goal, Shanahan defeats Avon Grove to take over first in Ches-Mont

LONDON GROVE — Jerry Riccardo was looking for the Bishop Shanahan offense to open up.

The senior, one of 10 on the Eagles’ roster, waited for his number to be called in a tie game with under six minutes to play. Riccardo made the most of his opportunity.

Despite his heroics, Riccardo deferred credit to his teammates, the Shanahan offense that set the stage for his winning goal.

“To be honest, anyone on our team can have the ball in the moment,’ Riccardo said. “It’s not just one person on Shanahan, but it was fantastic to get that clincher.’

Riccardo finished with two goals, including the game-winner with 5:09 to play, as Bishop Shanahan took control of first place in the Ches-Mont League with an 8-5 victory over Avon Grove in a rematch of the 2014 District 1 Championship Game at Avon Grove High School Tuesday night.

The Eagles (7-0 league, 10-1 overall) are up a game over the Red Devils (6-1 league, 9-5 overall) with three league games to play with the win. They can clinch their second outright Ches-Mont championship in a row with two more league wins.

Shanahan has won 20 consecutive Ches-Mont games dating back to 2013.

“It feels amazing, it really does,’ said Pat Corcoran, who had two fourth-quarter goals for Shanahan. “A lot of hard work went into this. Everybody on this team deserves this win.’

Avon Grove rallied from a two-goal deficit after Corcoran’s first goal of the game to give Shanahan a 5-3 lead with 11:53 to play. The Red Devils added pressure on Shanahan clears, which led to two turnovers at midfield.

Stephen Cyron, third in the Ches-Mont with 41 goals, was the recipient of both Shanahan turnovers, turning both into two goals in a 1:02 span to tie the game 5-5 with 8:11 remaining.

As the Red Devils did not trail for the first time in the game, the Avon Grove crowd was at its loudest point of the night. But the Eagles didn’t fold, despite blowing the lead.

“They started pressuring us and made some plays, but that’s just how lacrosse is,’ said Shanahan head coach John Heisman. “All of a sudden it’s 5-5, but that was on us. We’ve been very resillant this year. We just keep going and making plays. Nothing bothers us. That’s the exciting part of it.’

With the Eagles holding possession, Riccardo received a pass from Ben Farrell behind the net. Riccardo turned to his left which caused John Knapp to fall as he charged toward the net. From that point, he had a 1-on-1 opportunity with Avon Grove goalie Kevin Malone as he shot the ball stick side into the bottom right corner of the net for the eventual game-winner.

“I was yelling ‘ Jerry, Jerry get it out’ when the move happened,’ Heisman said. “And then he shot it in. It was a great move then. Jerry stepped up and scored that big goal for us.’

Once Shanahan got the lead, they didn’t relinquish it. Corcoran took over the game with controlling possession at midfield. He faked out three defenders in the crease and scored to put the Eagles up 7-5 with 2:58 left, effectively sealing the victory.

“Honestly, I was just trying to run out the clock,’ Corcoran said. “Then I saw an angle and just went for it.’

The Eagles never trailed in part to a strong defensive effort by Jimmie Walsh and a dominant first half by Jason Yoquinto in the cage.

Avon Grove had 15 shots in the first half, but Yoquinto had nine saves to keep Shanahan up 3-2 heading into halftime. One of his biggest saves of the night came off a one-timer by Cyron in the first quarter to keep Shanahan up 1-0.

Yoquinto finished with 15 saves for the game.

“Jason stood on his head most of the night,’ Heisman said. “Added to his performance with our defense, which was absolutely suffocating until the end. All of them picked a good time to play their best game.’

“We played really well, but give credit to the coaches,’ Walsh said. “They put us in all the right positions. It just feels great to beat a team as good as Avon Grove. That’s a great team we played tonight.’

Cyron led Avon Grove with three goals. Malone, replacing injured starter Liam Brodie, finished with seven saves.

Shanahan is in control of the Ches-Mont with the win, but is not satisfied. The Eagles just took a step toward one of their major goals, winning the league title once again.

“It feels great, but the season is definitely not over,’ Walsh said. “We got a long way to go.’

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