Step 1 in Radnor’s defense of district and state titles went about as expected Thursday night.
Three first-quarter goals from Colin French sent the top-seeded Central League champions past No. 16 Council Rock North, 17-4, in the second round of the District 1 Class 3A tournament.
French scored all three in the game’s first 10:50, after which the Raptors (17-2) led by a 9-0 score. Starters played sparingly from there on out, though CR North won the second quarter and forced some back into the game in the third.
Long-stick midfielder Pablo Strid scored twice in the first. Mason Montrella scored a goal to go with two third-quarter assists. Owen Knight scored in the third, off a feed from French, to go with three assists in the opening quarter. Evan Hornbaker added two fourth-quarter goals as Radnor flexed its depth. The Raptors’ defense did the job from there, haranguing CR North players all over the field and turning them over by the bucketful. Nick DeCain made four saves in goal.
Still, the Indians battled. They scored with six seconds left in the first quarter and one tick left in the first half. Sam Lewis had a goal and an assist, the goal to end the half on a full-field heave from pole Tyler Radowicz. Goalie Zach Borden was outstanding, with 23 saves, some of the spectacular variety. He was under constant assault, though he kept the game from getting out of hand while benefitting from Radnor hitting the iron three times.
In other District 1 Class 3A playoff games:
Springfield 15, Perkiomen Valley 1 >> Two saves. That’s all Springfield goalie Jackson Kennedy had to make Thursday night.
Springfield’s defense saw to that.
The second-seeded Cougars only allowed three shots on goal and only one got past Kennedy. It was a dominating performance that included 13 caused turnovers.
“We’re a huge family out there,” said senior midfielder Michael Hoey, who helped spark that defensive effort with five ground balls and two caused turnovers. “It’s never one-on-one. We’re always helping each other.”
It’s the third time in the last six games that the Cougars (16-2) allowed just one goal. They have not given up double-digit goals in a game this season and are allowing just 4.8 goals per game.
“Coach (Ryne) Adolph builds us up a lot, telling us to swarm to the ball,” Hoey said. “If it wasn’t for Coach Adolph and Coach (Joey) Hoey I don’ think we’d be that good of a defense.”
Jimmy Kennedy and Ty Gougler paced a balanced offensive attack with three goals and one assist each. Pat Flaherty, Aidan Kreydt and Luke Valerio added two goals and one assist. But it was the defense that carried the day for the Cougars.
Sophomore Billy Henderson led the way with four ground balls and three caused turnovers. Valerio and Nick Lubutis added two caused turnovers apiece to send the Cougars into the quarterfinals against the winner of a game between No. 10 Conestoga and No. 7 C.B. West.
Garnet Valley 8, Spring-Ford 5 >> The No. 13 Jaguars rode their trademark ball control, excellent midfield play, and goaltending to a
win over fourth-seeded Spring-Ford.
Drew Goldt scored four consecutive goals for the Jags in the second and third quarters, while goalie Drew Keaveney finished with 17 saves.
To say Keaveney stole the win would be to underplay the Jaguars’ depth, their quality in the margins of the game (only two penalties, winning 60 percent of the faceoffs) and their timely scoring.
But for the first three quarters, Spring-Ford did have the better of the scoring chances, and it was the junior netminder who was the difference in sending Garnet to the final stanza with a 5-4 advantage.
“Our togetherness as a defense helps me a lot,” Keaveney said. “I saw the ball well, it was probably my best game so far.”
Keaveney offered praise to Spring-Ford offense, led by seniors Will Fish (three goals) and Justin Wixted (two goals).
“I’m not going to say I got lucky,” Keaveney said. “But there were definitely one or two shots where, as a goalie, maybe you have to have luck on your side.”
One thing Garnet Valley doesn’t leave to chance is its approach that sees the team peaking in May annually. Thursday’s result clinched 2023 as the fifth consecutive season that the Jags will outperform their seeding in districts.
“One thing Coach (Frank) Urso always says is that playoffs are a whole new season,” Goldt said. “Records really don’t matter, and we tend to play to that.”
Pennridge 12, Ridley 10 >> The 14th-seeded Green Raiders trailed by seven, 11-4, late in the third quarter but battled to within two twice, 11-9 and 12-10, in the fourth, but that’s as close as they would get.
“I’m just proud of the guys for not giving up,” Ridley coach Jef Hewlings said. “They’ve played hard all season. They haven’t played well all season, but they’ve played hard all season. To see them fight back and to hear what’s happening on the sideline – the guys on the bench are saying, ‘We got this. Keep working back. We’ve got the next groundball.’ That’s a credit to them. They played hard. They fought hard. They’ve changed the culture of the program.”
Owen Bosak and Tim Signs scored late in the third quarter to get Ridley within five, 11-6, going into the fourth. Bosak scored 58 seconds into the final frame before John Tinney scored back-to-back goals to make it 11-9 with 7:18 to go.
No. 3 Pennridge slowed things down with a timeout and responded with a goal to get the lead back to three, 12-9, with just under five minutes left.
“I think we had a couple of chances at 11-9,” Hewlings said. “We didn’t cash in and that kind of hurt us. (Pennridge is) a good team and they’re going to take advantage of our mistakes and control the tempo of the game.”
Ridley answered in 22 seconds when Bosak set up Matt Glavin for a goal and the margin was back to two with 4:35 remaining. The Green Raiders (11-8) had some chances down the stretch but hit a crossbar and had some good looks blocked off.
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