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PIAA boys lacrosse: Mars, led by Blitz Boys, crushes Devon Prep to make Class 2A semifinals again

Mars’ Ryan Blake (12) celebrates a goal with Enzo Grieco (24) during the 2024 WPIAL Class 2A Boys Lacrosse Championship. The Planets routed Devon Prep in Saturday’s PIAA quarterfinals. Eagle file photo

UNIVERSITY PARK — The Blitz Boys were back at it Saturday afternoon.

Having already defeated its four previous postseason opponents this spring by a combined score of 73-9, the Mars boys lacrosse team encountered little resistance on its march to Tuesday’s PIAA semifinals, overwhelming District 12 champion Devon Prep 18-6 in a Class 2A quarterfinal at Penn State University’s Panzer Stadium.

The Planets (19-3) scored six times in the opening quarter, then dropped nine unanswered goals on the Tide in the second period to lead 15-2 at halftime.

“Jack McKenzie had a lot to do with that,” Mars coach Bob Marcoux said. “He won 17 of 19 faceoffs in the first half.

“Devon Prep has good athletes and they like to push it. We had to play a settled game.”

Related Article: PIAA girls lacrosse: Mars’ run ends at hands of Villa Maria Academy, clock in Class 2A quarterfinals Related Article: Mars boys volleyball’s historic run continues with PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal win vs West Shamokin

Mars’ onslaught made things very unsettled for the Tide early on.

Ian Coulter began the scoring just one minute into the game. He added another goal by the end of the first quarter. Enzo Grieco and Ryan Blake both found the net twice.

Prep’s leading scorer this season, senior midfielder Eammon Donovan, entered the game with 77 goals this spring. He did his part to keep his team in contention in the early going, scoring both of the Tide’s goals in the opening quarter.

But Mars’ second-quarter barrage awaited Prep. The Planets hovered near Tide goalie Matt Pascale, who stopped just three of the 12 shots he faced in the period.

Seven different players beat him, with Jack Tirch and Blake both scoring twice.

“Their offense is suffocating,” Prep coach Mark Consolo said. “Our defense rotated quickly, but those shots came really fast.”

Seeing their hopes of extending their season get swallowed up by Mars’ attack, Prep’s players could not hide their emotions.

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“I could sense their frustration,” Coulter said. “They came here to reach the semis and rightfully so, but only the best team deserves to move on.

“We knew if we played our offense, we could score a lot of goals.”

The Planets scored just twice in the third, but with a 17-4 edge and the mercy clock running, victory was all but assured.

“I thought we did a good job of staying focused into the third quarter,” Marcoux said. “Then the play got chippy, really physical. We need to do a better job of keeping our composure.”

Blake tallied four goals to lead the Planets. Grieco and Ben Bowser both had three scores and Jack Dwyer two.

Dylan Phillips also scored twice, reaching 100 goals for his varsity career at Mars, and dished out five assists.

Donovan scored three for Prep (17-6), which received seven saves from Pascale. Luke Spreng denied Prep on three shots.

“We were coming off a great practice, but honestly, I am a little surprised we dominated like we did today,” Blake said. “This was probably our best game of the season.”

Mars will face South Fayette at a site and time to be determined Tuesday for the right to play in June 15’s state championship game. The Planets defeated the Lions 16-5 in last month’s WPIAL title showdown.

Blake, a senior, is one of a number of Planets who will be attempting to suit up for his fourth PIAA championship game.

“This is Mars. Playing in the state final is what we do,” he said. “That’s the goal every year.”

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