EAST ROCKHILL >> Garnet Valley’s second-quarter surge Wednesday night assured the Jaguars go into states with a sharpened edge.
“We’ve had a tough schedule all year so our record (14-9) isn’t what we would like it to be, but we’re hot and playing good lacrosse right now,” said the Jaguars’ Kris Henning. “So we’re in a good spot.”
The 13th-seeded Jaguars went on a 7-1 run in the second quarter to pull away to a 13-7 victory over No. 3 Pennridge in the District 1-3A Fifth-Place Game at Helman Field.
The win means that Garnet Valley will take on District 12 Champ La Salle in the first round of the PIAA Tournament on Tuesday while the Rams, who captured the program’s first ever state berth this season, will take on District One Champion Springfield Delco in the first round.
Pennridge led 2-1 early on Wednesday on its home turf but then Garnet Valley shifted into its top gear.
“We got off to a slow start but we got our game together,” said Henning, who scored a hat trick for the Jags. “We started making plays up in transition and it felt good to get a win.
“The offense was moving, the defense was doing its job.”
Andrew Goldt scored a game-high five goals for a high-powered Garnet Valley attack. The Jaguars would build a 13-3 lead by the third quarter.
Despite the loss, the Rams are still in the midst of a tremendous season. Pennridge had locked up its first ever states spot with its victory over Conestoga.
“We were ecstatic. We broke the training table in the locker room jumping on it after the game,” said senior Ben Souder. “It was crazy in there.”
Souder and Drew Ferguson were the lone senior starters on a much improved squad in 2023.
“Guys got a year older and we returned nine guys. It was just everyone being used to each other and getting better over the summer,” said Souder.
Landmark wins over Central Bucks East and Central Bucks West helped spur the momentum.
Said Ferguson: “Beating them was monumental for the program. It kind of told us that this might be a special year.”
The Rams benefited from coach Chris Pianko’s first full offseason as coach (second year overall).
“I think we bought into what we were doing a little bit better. We were pretty young last year and another year of experience was huge,” said Pianko. “We’re executing better, we got a few good bounces along the way and we gained the confidence that we can play with some of these teams.”
District 1-3A Fifth-Place Game
Garnet Valley 13, Pennridge 7
(13) Garnet Valley 1 7 5 0 – 13
(3) Pennridge 2 1 0 4 – 7
Garnet Valley goals-assists: Colin Smith 2-1; 14 Kris Henning 3-2; Andrew Goldt 5-2; Zach Myers 1-0; Josh Graham 1-2; Kai Lopez 1-0.
Pennridge goals-assists: Frankie Fanelli 3-1; Levi Souder 1-2; Matt Seiler 1-0; Ryan Carickhoff 1-0; Rocco Fanelli 1-0.