Pennsbury needed an offensive boost.
In the Falcons' previous five matchups, they combined for a total of just 23 goals, including three in which they failed to surpass four tallies. Those numbers led to a 1-4 mark to continue what has been a tough season.
Perhaps Pennsbury's fortunes will change, however, after their April 25 home tussle with Truman. For the third time this year, the Falcons reached double digits, as they scored a season high 15 goals in a 13-point drubbing of the overmatched Tigers.
"We put a lot of goals up,' sophomore Hunter Lake said. "We ran our offense well.'
Normally a defensive midfielder, Lake was moved to the offensive side for this matchup. Lake had been held scoreless all season, but caught fire against Truman. He started with a first period shot that beat the Tigers Zack Bennett for a 5-0 Pennsbury advantage. He added another in the second stanza off a pass from Grant Montgomery and then completed a hat trick in the third quarter off a setup by Nick Dugan.
Lake wasn't done either, as he picked up a rebound with the clock running in the fourth quarter and scored one more time to round out the impressive Falcon performance.
"Today, we seemed like we were much more fluid in our offense,' Falcons coach Jamie Huber said. "The offense has to keep clicking.'
While Lake was the star, seven of his teammates managed to earn points, as well. There were two other hat tricks, including senior midfielder Greg Kolowajtis and junior attacker Jared Petty. The result was the Falcons making very quick work of Truman, as they built a 9-0 lead before Lucas Gray scored for the Tigers in the third quarter to end the shutout.
By that point, though, it was too late to mount a comeback. Bennett, a sophomore, did his part in trying to keep the Tigers within reach, as he made 12 saves in the losing effort. In the fourth quarter, he was replaced by senior Danny O'Donnell, who stopped two more Falcon shots.
"Our goaltending was actually very good. Our defense played well,' Tigers coach Dennis O'Donnell said.
Overall, though, the third-year coach was disappointed with the performance.
"The effort wasn't there,' O'Donnell added. "A letdown after a win.'
Truman had been winless coming into the week, but finally got on the board with a 9-8 victory over Norristown April 23. After the setback to Pennsbury, the Tigers are now 1-9 on the year.
The good news is that the team is building a strong core of young players, particularly on defense. While the Tigers didn't have much success against Pennsbury this year, as they yielded 29 goals in two contests, the future is bright behind Bennett and his classmates in Jake Sutenko, Justin Hemphill and Ryan Samaroo. Add freshman Ryan Parish into the mix, and Truman has a defense with the potential to play together for two more seasons.
Up front, the Tigers are also young, as two attackers in Matt Foden and Kyle Morris are juniors. Foden scored Truman's other tally, while fellow attacker Jake Ferraro registered the team's only assist.
"Over the next couple years, we'll have a dominant defense,' O'Donnell said. "I'm optimistic for the future.'
Truman has only six seniors on the roster and, since the school doesn't have a girls lacrosse squad, has two female players in Keri McQuaid and Liz McGoldrick. The Falcons, meanwhile, have considerably higher numbers, but 14 seniors. That said, their window may not be as big to get back into contention, and with just a 4-8 mark on the year, time is winding down to earn more victories.
The Falcons will try to keep their offense firing on all cylinders, which would complement a defense led by three team captains in Jack Benziger (one assist), Stephen Barberides and Matt Anderson. The other captain is midfielder John Conte, who scored a pair of goals and added the same amount of assists in the victory. Zach Abraham also had two goals, while Montgomery had the other tally and contributed four assists.
The Falcons will have to continue their defensive strength to be successful, as they are without the services of starting goalie Jack Kenny for the rest of the campaign due to a thumb injury. In his place, senior Cameron Hansen has stepped in. He made two saves against Truman before being pulled for backup Ryan Fuller.
"Injuries are part of the sport, unfortunately,' Huber said. "That [the defense] definitely helps our goalies out, whoever that is.'
Pennsbury does now have back-to-back victories, as it knocked off Neshaminy by a 6-5 count April 22. A tough coming week is in store, though, as trips to Abington, Holy Ghost Prep and Methacton are looming, as is a visit from Council Rock South. Huber is hoping for at least two victories in that span which would leave the Falcons with a rematch against Neshaminy and a trip to Council Rock North in their efforts to finish .500 and make the District I playoffs.
That would be a solid accomplishment, given that Pennsbury finished only 2-16 last year.
"It's a big motivation booster,' Kolowajtis said. "If we win our next three or four games, I think we're right back in the running.'
Pennsbury 15, Truman 2
(April 25 at Pennsbury)
Pennsbury 5 3 5 2 — 15
Truman 0 0 2 0 — 2
Goals — Hunter Lake 4; Jared Petty 3; Greg Kolowajtis 3; Zach Abraham 2; John Conte 2; Grant Montgomery 1.
Assists — Montgomery 4; Conte 2; Petty 1; Nick Dugan 1; Jack Benziger 1.
Shots — 26.
Saves — Cameron Hansen 2; Ryan Fuller 2.
Goals — Lucas Gray 1; Matt Foden 1.
Assist — Jake Ferraro 1.
Shots — 10.
Saves — Zack Bennett 12; Danny O'Donnell 2.