Glen Rock ousts Pascack Valley in BCT
You can plop Tim Miller down on any field in North Jersey, assign him practically any role conceivable and expect the same determined effort whenever, wherever.
It's all the same to him. Because no matter the job or its locale, the versatile senior feels right at home.
Glen Rock's massive road trip continued Tuesday night in Oradell with Miller conducting himself with typical style and consistency and with his Panthers once again reliably following his lead.
Miller netted four goals and assisted on three others for his fourth seven-point game this season, Mike Mount scored three times and Alex Walker added two goals and one assist to power third-seeded and undefeated Glen Rock to a 13-3 win over sixth-seeded Pascack Valley in the quarterfinals of the Bergen County Tournament at River Dell High.
Glen Rock's home field has been under renovation all spring, so this was the 14th time the Panthers boarded a bus, disembarked as one self-contained group and then played as if they owned the place.
"We just show up and we play," Miller said. "Doesn't matter where it is. No excuses. It's just another game."
Glen Rock (14-0) will make its first trip to Ridgewood this season when it faces the second-seeded Maroons Thursday night in the BCT semifinals. Also at Ridgewood will be top-seeded Don Bosco Prep against fifth-seeded Bergen Catholic. The winners advance to the championship Saturday at Mahwah High, where Glen Rock opened this peripatetic spring with an 8-7 win.
By then, the traveling life already seemed routine to the Panthers because, well… because that's the agreeable mindset they knew they had to have to make its situation seem perfectly normal.
"We had all our scrimmages away, too, so we knew right away we'd have to get used to traveling every game," senior defenseman Pat Keller said. "We know we have to be ready to play when we come off that bus."
Glen Rock shook of a goal by Pascack Valley's Kevin Illian 1:58 into the game to build a 3-1 lead by the end of that quarter and a 6-1 advantage by the half. And if you happened to freeze-frame key moments of that steady climb, Miller would be a visible figure in just about every one.
He won eight of nine faceoffs in the half, scored two goals, assisted on one and provided strong overall groundball work and defense throughout.
"Tim's unbelievable. One of the best kids in the county," Keller said. "He leads by example every day, practice and games. He's really a great player."
Miller came into the game with 32 goals and 37 assists, both team highs, and launched right into his customary work rate despite occasional shutoffs. He's well used to such things by now, and so are his teammates.
"They all do their job well," he said. "It opens it up for me because they put so much pressure on the defense, they can't slough off of them to faceguard me. It's great how they're all working."
Mount tied the game for Glen Rock off a feed by Walker with 9:41 to go in the first quarter, and Braeden DeWan provided the lead 37 seconds later with a running bouncer off an isolation sweep. Miller made it 3-1 with a strong dodge from the left wing with 3:32 to go in the period. Walker and Mount both connected in the first 1:40 of the second quarter for a 5-1 lead.
"We came out and we knew we had to be a patient offense," Miller said. "Coach (Jim) Egan has been preaching that all year, to just be patient. Get the ball around, move it, look for the open guy, don't force it. If it's not there, just bump it up the side, get it around again."
Glen Rock's deliberate approach helped limit Pascack Valley's shots to 10 for the opening half. The Indians did not attempt their first shot of the second quarter until 6:12 had expired and Glen Rock was in front, 6-1.
The Panthers offense, as alert and efficient as it was, did show a few flaws. There were nine turnovers in the second quarter, and yet they did not come back to haunt Glen Rock due to the timely defense of Keller, Toph Clarke, Matt Slodowitz and Jon Spada.
"The defense has picked us up all year," Miller said. "We had a couple turnovers, bit the defense played the system and it was great. We're all here to play for each other and play as a team."
Illian closed with two goals and one assist and Joe Farinelli had one goal and one assist for Pascack Valley. DeWan collected one goal and two assists, Jake Pellegrino scored once and Pat Egan had two assists for Glen Rock. Teammate Jake Quiat rejected seven shots.
Mike Kinney covers boys lacrosse for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS