Bucks County Herald

Boys' lacrosse:

Quakertown pushes ahead with optimism

DAVID CAMPBELL

Quakertown won’t be built in a day – or a season.

First-year head coach Travis Eckler knows it’ll take time for the Panthers to come together and challenge for the Suburban One League (SOL) American Conference crown. After all, Quakertown has fielded a program for less than five years.

“The teamwork is there,” said Eckler, a few minutes after the Panthers’ 17-6 loss to nonconference Council Rock South at Alumni Field on Friday afternoon. “Every day, we’re trying to get better – and we are. From the first time I met these guys until now, we’ve improved a lot. Now, it’s just trying to put four quarters together.”

The Golden Hawks carried a 12-2 advantage into halftime. The second half was much more to Eckler’s liking. It’s a start, he said.

“The first half was kind of nonexistent,” Eckler said. “The second half, we lost 5-4. At halftime, we regrouped. If we play how we can play, we can play with people.”

Junior attackman Jeffrey Royall netted a hat trick and an assist. Jacob Barndt had a goal and an assist.

Frank Claus and Nolan Dickerson each tallied a goal, while Gavin Hillaert was credited with an assist.

“I’d like to see this team do very well this year,” Royall said. “I think we have the talent. We just have to put it together on the field.

“We’re still kind of getting to know each other as players and understanding how each other plays,” Royall continued. “It’s slowly coming together.”

Quakertown’s backbone is senior goalie Chris Brady, who will play collegiately for Cabrini University.

Brady made 16 saves in the Panthers’ 15-4 thrashing of Liberty on March 26. Royall scored six in the blowout. Barndt had three goals; Jake Lewis and Chase Oliver each had two. Claus and Dan Grubb each had one goal. Ben McGann helped out with three assists. Claus had two helpers; Hillaert had one.

“Unlike other programs, we didn’t play together when we were younger,” said Brady, discussing Quakertown’s inexperience. “Instead, we were friends when we were younger. We played different sports growing up. Now, it’s interesting to see everyone give lacrosse a try and help build the program from the ground up.”

“Chris is a very, very good goalie,” Eckler said of Brady, one of his veterans and one of the few Panthers with substantial experience. “He sees a lot of shots, does very well. He’s a leader; he’s a captain.”

The Panthers are 2-4 overall. They let one slip away on Tuesday, falling to Saucon Valley, 11-6, after leading 4-1 at halftime and 6-4 after three.

Quakertown opened with a nice 7-4 win over Pleasant Valley on March 23. Lewis starred with a hat trick. Claus and Royall each recorded a pair of goals and a pair of assists. Grubb had an assist. Brady had another busy day with 17 saves.

Last Wednesday in Quakertown’s 15-8 loss to Moravian Academy, Royall had three goals and one assist. Claus, McGann, Oliver, Hillaert and Chris McGill each deposited one goal, while Lewis chipped in one assist.

“I think we all came together as a group and really put forth our best effort,” said Royall, returning to the second half against Rock South, but he very well could have been describing Quakertown’s triumphs over Pleasant Valley and Liberty.

“We’re just trying to get our name out there and become a competent program, a program that can consistently play well and that always rises to the challenge,” Brady concluded.

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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