The combination of senior halfback Nate Peo and junior striker Peyton Lalone entered the season looking to be the fulcrum for OFA’s hopes to repeat and possibly better the success of last year’s NAC Central Championship season.
On Saturday night Peo excelled as a starter and finisher, Lalone figured in all three goals and Jake Sias made key saves in a shutout as the Blue Devils achieved one of their season goals by downing Lisbon 3-0 to repeat as champions of the Gerard Cring Memorial Tournament.
Peo tallied the eventual winning goal in the 22nd minute of the first half and was honored as the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Lalone netted a goal with two assists earning a George Mattison All-Star Award in the first edition of the tournament in the Devils’ turf stadium.
Halfback Adam Kelley, who was a poised stalwart in the middle, represented Lisbon’s intense efforts on the All-Mattison team.
Morristown bested Norwood-Norfolk 3-0 in the consolation game.
Peo scored the only goal of the first half in the 22nd minute by controlling a cross from Lalone and scoring in a scramble.
The Devils took control with goals with 14:20 and 11:54 to play in the game. Lalone made it 2-0 with a long run from beyond midfield and hit a hard shot which bounded off a save attempt by Lisbon keeper Nick Spooner (10 saves). OFA’s third goal was a lighting quick three way connection where DaKota Brady headed a cross from Lalone to Hayden Woods for a close range cranial redirection into the net.
“Nate Peo just won a ton of the balls in the first game and even though he had an ankle injury he played very well in the middle tonight,” said OFA Coach Matt Morley.
“He is just so gritty and a quiet leader. He is the glue that holds everything together. We ran a lot of offense through Peyton Lalone tonight and I thought the guys in the back played well. Jake Sias did what he had to do and Ben Hammond had a nice game for us.”
Sias (5 saves) made a leaping save to thwart Kelley in the 11th minute of the game shortly after defender Seth Pinkerton cleared a dangerous ball from in front of the net.
After the game both OFA Coach Matt Morley and his Lisbon counterpart Bill Reed spoke of the improvement of the teams.
“I was happy tonight because we continue to get better. This was a big win and it is always important to win this tournament,” said Morley.
“I really liked our intensity tonight and I thought it was 50-50 game for much of the game. Jake Sias’ save on Adam Kelley early in the game was very important,” said Reed.
“We were in a defensive mode alot defending against Peyton Lalone but we still managed to generate some good chances. Reilly Alberto and Connor Hammond played very well and Jake Pellerin used his speed to create some nice threats.”
Morristown 3, Norwood-Norfolk 0: A total team effort lifted the Rockets booters to their first win of the season and newly appointed head coach Vanessa Bullock’s first ever head varsity coach win.
All Tournament team selection, Ryan Vollmer generated the first goal of the game in the 21st minute from Devin Dulmage and assisted on Zack Kanaly’s goal in the 26th for the Rockets who used a seven save performance from Luke King.
Jake VanArnam scored in the 74th minute unassisted to close out the scoring.
Nolan Pernice stopped 13 shots. Tristen Harvey was named to the All Tournament team for the Flyers.