WEST CHESTER -- When Will Schreiner lines up between the pipes for Avon Grove, the goalie believes in just seeing the ball when facing a shot.
That philosophy has worked for the Under Armour All-American all season, until the sun blocked his view in the second quarter of the PIAA semifinal Tuesday night.
Schreiner relied on a backup plan to help him make four saves while allowing just one goal in that quarter. As for that backup plan, it was a simple one.
"Confidence,' Schreiner said. "Sometimes you can't always see the ball so you have to rely on that. Any goalie has to go into a shot thinking that they can stop it, no matter how hard the shot. If you believe you can save it, you can save it.'
Confidence is what drove Schreiner and Avon Grove as the Red Devils advanced to the PIAA championship game with a dominant 10-6 victory over Radnor at J. Oscar Dicks Stadium.
Avon Grove (20-4) will play Penncrest in the state title game, the first in the program's history, Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.
The Red Devils return trip to the state semifinals had the outcome they wanted this time around, a victory. Avon Grove fell to Conestoga in the same round to end its season last year.
As Tanner Peck proclaimed, that result was not happening this season.
"We came in here with a chip on our shoulder,' Peck said. "We didn't play our game last year. This time, we were real focused the whole way here. We knew we were prepared physically and mentally to win this game. We just had to do it out on the field.'
There came that confidence which carried Avon Grove to this point in the season and it continued throughout the early stages of its matchup with Radnor.
Beau Kush netted a wrist shot past Radnor goalie Alex Anderson to give the Red Devils a 1-0 lead at the 9:02 mark in the first quarter. The early lead became one Avon Grove would never relinquish.
"That first one was big and got us rolling,' Kush said. "The best thing about our team is our depth. We can count on every player and when someone doesn't play their best game, we have others to fill the spot.'
Avon Grove used Kush's first goal as a springboard to build a commanding early lead. Stephen Cyron, Eric Russo and Ryan Cook each scored in a 2:47 span to put the Red Devils up 4-0 late in the first.
After Sam Camp scored to make it 4-1, Avon Grove didn't panic. Instead the Red Devils just built on their early lead.
Cook and Cyron each scored to give Avon Grove a 6-1 lead with 6:46 left in the second.
From there, it was Schreiner's turn to preserve that with the sun glaring at his helmet. Mission accomplished.
"It's nice to go out there and relax with that lead,' Schreiner said. "I can play my best game when I'm relaxed. At that point it was just see the ball, relax and react.'
Schreiner allowing just one goal with the sun in his eyes while Anderson allowing four in that first half turned out to be the difference in the game. That paved the way for Avon Grove to control possession throughout the second half.
Cyron scored back-to-back goals in the third to make it 9-2 and put the game out of reach for Radnor (17-6), the fourth place team in District 1.
Cyron led the Red Devils with four goals on the night. Cook and Bryce Reid each had two.
Schreiner finished with 12 saves, including a point blank save to deny Drew Ryan an easy goal at the 2:59 mark in the third.
The main goal for Avon Grove all season was to get to Hershey. Tuesday night, head coach Eric Jackson and his team finally accomplished that feat. Now, the Red Devils are just a win away from their first state championship.
"The passion is there and the energy is there,' Jackson said. "The guys have been working hard all year for this. Being so close last year was definitely a shot for us. We definitely rallied from that point on.'
"It's an unbelievable feeling and there really are no words to describe it,' Peck said. "We're a family as a team and hoping to seize the opportunity. We believed we had the team that could (get to Hershey) in the beginning of the season and here we are.'
Avon Grove 10, Radnor 6
Radnor 1 1 1 3—6
Avon Grove 4 2 3 1—10
Radnor goals: Fischer 2, Proctor 2, Savitch, Camp.
Avon Grove goals: Cyron 4, Reid 2, Cook 2, Kush, Russo.
Goalie saves: Anderson (R) 3; Schreiner (AG) 12.