WALKERSVILLE — Another blistering shot from a Walkersville shooter came his way, and somehow Seneca Valley goalie Enzo Jovél made the save.
“That goalie is insane!” a Walkersville defenseman said in admiration.
The Lions had a three-goal lead late in the first quarter of Wednesday’s Class 2A West Section II playoff game, and it could have been much worse if not for Jovél’s excellence.
But with Walkersville faceoff man Ryan Mudd then stepping up his game at the faceoff X and leading pushes upfield, even Jovél couldn’t stop the deluge of close-range shots that came his way.
Mudd won 18 of 21 faceoffs for the Lions, who beat the Screamin’ Eagles 18-1 to advance to the Section II semifinals.
When Mudd took his position at the faceoff X, he won most of his faceoffs cleanly and then bolted toward the cage, immediately putting Seneca Valley on its heels. In the meantime, Mudd’s teammates buzzed around the net, waiting for Mudd to find them. The sophomore also collected two goals and three assists for Walkersville (5-9), which will next travel to face top-seeded Damascus at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Camden Church scored 10 goals, Peyton Vance added three, and Evan Wolcott, Colin Gnassounou and Tanner High each scored once. Ryan Moriarty dished out five assists.
“We wanted a lot of assisted goals, a lot of ball movement, a lot of off-ball movement as well,” Lions assistant coach Devon Makrides said. “[We had] a lot of off-ball cutters. ... He’s got wheels — Ryan’s fast.”
In Mudd, the Lions have a faceoff man who was truly starting to get his feet wet in that role on last year’s Walkersville JV team, which barely had enough players to field a team. In the past, Mudd played recreational league lacrosse but received limited action at the faceoff X.
“I maybe did a few a season,” Mudd said.
Mudd knew of Lions varsity coach Randy Clark’s reputation as a strong faceoff man at Hood College. When he graduated from Hood, Clark left as the program’s leader in faceoff wins, faceoff percentage and ground balls. With that kind of background, Mudd figured he’d have a good teacher, so he volunteered to take faceoffs.
“The main thing is the work outside of practice,” Mudd said. “It’s the reps and doing stuff on your own time.
“The biggest thing about faceoffs that he’s taught me is the mental game. If you’re going in thinking you’re going to lose to the guy, you’re going to lose to the guy. If you go in thinking you’re going to win, that’s your only shot.”
Like last year’s Walkersville JV team, Seneca Valley’s varsity team didn’t field a deep roster. The Screamin’ Eagles had no reserves on their bench, and twice this season, they forfeited games because they didn’t have enough players to field a starting lineup.
Jovél finished with 16 saves.