TOWAMENCIN >> A four-goal lead for the North Penn boys lacrosse team had been cut in half by visiting West Chester Henderson. But late in the third quarter, Colin Ponyi found an opportunity to give the Knights a spark.
“I saw that there was a ground ball there and he came out on me a little too far and I just ran right past him,” the senior midfielder said. ”Had an open look.”
Ponyi capped his dash into the Warriors’ half by putting a shot into the net at 3:09 in the third to extend North Penn’s edge to 7-4.
“They were starting to creep back into it,” Ponyi said. That goal kind of just put a little space in between, got us going again.”
Henderson pulled back within two with 30 seconds left in the quarter but Emerson Morelli’s tally early in the fourth had a young Knights side again up three as they held on from there to earn a 7-5 nonleague victory over the Warriors Friday afternoon.
“So we started off hot, we got a good jump on ‘em, started to let them get back into it,” Ponyi said. “But I think we really slowed down the game, kind of played our game, played our offense and were able to just put the game away.”
Ponyi finished with two goals and an assist, Jayden Davenport registered two goals and two assists while goalkeeper Connor Howard made 19 saves as a Knights (3-1) – who have just six seniors – claimed a third consecutive win since they were edged 7-6 by Hatboro-Horsham in the season opener last Friday.
“We’re asking the guys to show up every single day and work hard and that’s what they’re doing,” North Penn coach Rick Smith said. “And that’s what we’re trying to focus on, we’re trying to focus on limiting our mistakes and just continue to grow our lacrosse IQ and just take it one day at a time.”
Matt Twohig had two goals and an assist for West Chester Henderson (0-4), which knotted things 1-1 on a Miles Donnelly goal at 10:22 but were shut out the rest of the half while North Penn struck four times to lead 5-1 at the break.
“We talked before the game about that first quarter jumping out on these guys after the have a long bus ride is really, really important to come out on fire, to kind of set the tone early,” Smith said. “And our guys did that today.”
Twohig got Henderson back on the scoreboard at 9:55 in the third while Ryan Prete’s tally had the Warriors down 5-3 with 3:53 left in the quarter. Only 43 seconds later, Ponyi charged in and collected his second goal of the contest to make it 6-3 Knights.
“I think this year our biggest thing is to just run,” Ponyi said. “When we have a fast break or we have a chance to start moving, we want to take that.
A long-stick midfielder prior to high school, Ponyi moved to defensive midfielder and then this year switched to being a two-way middie, the senior embracing a new role helping to bolster the Knights’ attack.
“Last year I would strictly play defense, this is my first year playing offense, being able to get opportunities on offense,” he said. “And I do like it cause I feel like I’m helping out my teammates on offense.”
Twohig scored his second with 30 seconds remaining in the third to pull the Warriors with 6-4 but the Knights regained the three-goal advantage when Emerson Morelli struck at 10:28 in the fourth.
The score stayed that way until Seamus Murphy’s tally with 55 seconds left made it 7-4. The Warriors pushed for more in the final minute but Knights made the two-goal margin hold up.
“Overall, Connor Howard did outstanding in net today, our defense did a really, really good job and offense did just enough to get us the win,” Smith said. “But our defense definitely stood out today.”
West Chester Henderson visits Phoenixville for a nonleague game 4 p.m. Monday North Penn starts SOL National Conference play at Pennridge 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Davenport scored Friday’s opening tally at 10:39 in the first quarter before Donnelly pulled the Warriors level just 17 seconds later.
Ponyi put the Knights up 2-1 at 2:14 with a Ryan Bocklet tally at 1:20 making it 3-1 North Penn at the end of the first quarter.
The Knights collected two goals late in the second quarter – Davenport striking for his second at 3:09 while Caiden Myer finding the back of the net with 16 seconds before halftime pushed the Knights’ lead to 5-1.
“We always talk about the beginning and the ends of quarters really set the tone for the game and for end of the quarter and moving forward,” Smith said. “And we really put a big emphasis on trying to play fast whenever we can take advantage of mistakes that the other teams make. And we did our best to do that today.”
North Penn 7, West Chester Henderson 5
West Chester Henderson 1 0 3 1 – 5
North Penn 3 2 1 1 – 7
West Chester Henderson Goals-Assists: Matt Twohig 2-1; Seamus Murphy 1-1; Ryan Prete 1-1; Miles Donnelly 1-0; Carmen Cortese 0-1.
North Penn Goals-Assists: Jayden Davenport 2-2; Colin Ponyi 2-1; Ryan Bocklet 1-1; Caiden Myers 1-1; Emerson Morelli 1-0.
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