By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/18/09
The Haverford School players had a message for their coach, John Nostrant, today at the inaugural Nike “Checking for Cancer” Lacrosse Invitational:
“This one’s for you, coach.”
It was the least the Fords could do to honor Nostrant for battling prostate cancer and creating the invitational that brought eight national caliber programs to Haverford.
Nostrant, 45, was diagnosed with prostate cancer 14 months ago and is now considered cancer free. But his close friend from their playing days at Washington College, Georgetown Prep coach Kevin Giblin, continues to battle Stage 3 colon cancer. Georgetown was one of the participants today, claiming an easy 13-1 win over Duxbury (Mass.).
The fact that Haverford defeated Downingtown East, 9-5, to claim its second straight win after four consecutive losses was clearly a boost to the Fords’ psyche. But even more important was the message of the event: to raise awareness for early detection for cancer, specifically preventable diseases such as prostate, colon and testicular cancers.
Overall, the event brought a large crowd under sunny skies. Literature on cancer detection was available and wrist bands to encourage cancer testing were given to every attendee.
“I know Georgetown Prep’s coach is one of our coach’s best friends,” said Haverford School senior Will Horrocks, who tallied four goals to lead the Haverford victory. “Coach said over and over again that ‘It’s not about me, it’s about all the other people being helped, and my friend.’
“But the team met with the captains and said, ‘We know coach is saying that, but we have to go out there and do it for him.’ I know I did, and I think everyone did today.”
The Fords, who routed Penn Charter 15-2 Friday, are hoping this win can change their fortunes.
“We’ve obviously had a rough past two weeks,” Horrocks said. “We had a few meetings – the coaches and captains and the team – and what we were missing is that our team just hasn’t been close. Now we’re coming together and getting it done.”
The Fords (8-6) led, 5-1, at halftime, and never let the Cougars (9-2) get closer than three goals. Downingtown East was ranked sixth in the PA Media Lacrosse Rankings coming into play; Haverford was ninth.
Georgetown Prep, meanwhile, has been rolling this year. The Hoyas entered play ranked ninth in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Power Rankings as well as third in the LaxPower Computer Ratrings. They bolted to a 7-1 halftime bulge over 13th-ranked Duxbury (6-1, ranked 13th in the Under Armur/Inside Lacrosse Power Rankings) and coasted behind the scoring of Brian Casey (three goals), Pat Cotter (two goals), Mike Pirone (two goals) and Billy Gribbin (two goals).
Giblin, who coached with Nostrant as an assistant last summer with the World Champion USA Under-19 National Team, on Monday completed his 11th chemotherapy treatment in a cycle of 12. He was diagnosed in October and has endured two surgeries and a hard round of chemotherapy because the disease has hit his lymph nodes.
“It’s an aggressive cancer so they are treating it aggressively,” Giblin said with a smile, while admitting that he is low on energy. “My oncologist, Dr. (Fred) Smith (Sibley Memorial Hospital, in Washington D.C.) said, ‘Yeah we’re going to poison you, but poison you intelligently.’”
Giblin’s fight against cancer has captured the hearts of many in the lacrosse world – especially in Philadelphia.
“I’m a little in awe that Haverford has done such a good job in putting this together,” Giblin said. “It’s proved to be a nice day. Everything here has been first class. Of course. it’s always nice to get a ‘W.’
“It’s a great cause. We’re just happy to be a participant. I wish I was here for different reasons, but the awareness is so important and it’s a good event.”
Nostrant was thrilled with his team’s play, but even happier to see the event enjoy such success.
“I think it’s been a great day; we had four good games and eight great programs here,” he said. “Really, it’s about Gib and what he has to go through, and to raise awareness.”
Another of Giblin’s friends is Malvern Prep coach John McEvoy, whose team handled Darien (Conn.), 9-4. Malvern (5-4) plays with Haverford in the Inter-Ac League, and McEvoy met Giblin through Nostrant.
“What a nice event,” said McEvoy. “As far as our team, we played well on defense, we got groundballs, we moved the ball offensively and we played aggressively. Our man-up (attack) finally came through and we have been struggling a little to get our confidence up.”
Bobby Hill had three goals for the Friars and Ryan Creighton had one goal and four assists while Harte Thompson and Conor Steidle each had two goals.
Also, St. Pauls School (Md.) defeated Garden City (N.Y.), 7-5.
Georgetown Prep (Md.) 13, Duxbury (Mass.) 1
Duxbury 0-1-0-0 -1
Georgetown Prep 3-4-4-2- 11
GP scoring: Brian Casey 3, Mike Pirone 2, Billy Gribbin 2, Pat Cotter 2, Cory Dobyns 1, Matty Collins 1, Nick Perfido 1, Max Hart 1.
Duxbury scoring: Kane Haffey 1.
Haverford School (Pa.) 9, Downingtown East (Pa.) 5.
Downingtown East 1-0-2-2 – 5
Haverford School 2-3-1-3 – 9
HS scoring: Will Horrocks 4, Stephen Aitken 1, Matt Walters 1, Wills Miller 1, Joe O’Rourke 1, Carl Walrath 1.
DE scoring: Kyle Marcks 2, Rocco Piliero 1, Shane Sturgis 1, Kenny Maas 1.
Malvern Prep (Pa.) 9, Darien (Conn.) 4
Darien 1-0-2-1 – 4
Malvern Prep 1-3-3-2 – 9
Darien scoring: Tyler Foley 1, John Bolton 1, Case Matheis 1, Chas Brickman 1.
MP scoring: Bobby Hill 3, Harte Thompson 2, Conor Steidle 2, JK Poirier 1, Ryan Creighton 1.
St. Paul’s School (Md.) 7, Garden City (N.Y.) 5
St. Paul’s 1-3-1-2- 7
Garden City 2-0-1-2 – 5
SP scoring: Taylor Michel 2, Patrick Powderly 2, Zach Linkous 1, Alex Chay 1, Jeff Fountain 1.
GC scoring: Vin Chiodo 2, Devin Dwyer 2, Mark Fisher 1.
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Lacrosse Association