By Ben Skalina
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/13/09
The Inter-Ac League, always known as one of the most respected boys’ leagues in the country, will not be competing for the state championship now that the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is sanctioning lacrosse.
The Inter-Ac teams, who have won 17 of the 44 Pennsylvania state titles, will play even more regional and national powers than ever before. Expect goaltending to be a league-wide strength, as four seniors and a junior have already committed to Division 1 schools, including three schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Team to Beat
Malvern Prep – Coach John McEvoy returns a veteran defense that held La Salle to just four goals in a losing effort in last year’s Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association final, and will add longstick Henry Lobb to the mix in front of goalie Andrew O’Connell. There will be large shoes to fill on offense, however, as Matt Mackrides, Chris Layne and Colin McGeehin took their talents to the college ranks. Attackers JK Poirier and Conor Steidle and junior middies Ryan Creighton and Bobby Hill will be asked to pick up the scoring slack for the Friars
Haverford School – The Fords were hit hard by graduation again, but return several key players and are currently rated as the 11th-best high school team in the country by Inside Lacrosse. Goalie Dan Wigrizer (Duke) is the headliner, and he will be aided by Stocky Euler and JJ Newland on defense.
Penn Charter – Coach Pat McDonough’s Quakers lost Colin Still, Eddie Bambino and Ryan McGarvey from last year’s Final Four squad, but still return enough talent to contend in the always tough Inter-Ac. Dan Carr (Lehigh) will mind the net, and attacker Joey Sankey started as a freshman last year and impressed.
Episcopal Academy – The Churchmen moved their act to the school’s sparkling new campus in Newtown Square in the fall, and coach Andy Hayes will look to ride goalie Matt Lerman (Syracuse) and a strong defense led by juniors Bryson Craft, Jackson Place and Elliot Albert in the team’s first season as a Delaware County squad.
Germantown Academy – The Patriots will be young, but should improve as the season progresses and depend on midfielder Andrew Sih for offense.
Division 1 Seniors
Malvern Prep – James Connelly, D, Delaware; Bill Conners, D, Duke; Wills Curley, G, Brown; Steven Dunn, M, St. Joseph’s, JK Poirier, A, Bryant; Conor Steidle, A, North Carolina; Harte Thompson, M, Villanova, CJ Mooney, D, Penn (football)
Haverford School – Stocky Euler, D/LSM, Lafayette; Wills Miller, M/FO, Bucknell; Dan Wigrizer, G, Duke
Penn Charter – Dan Carr, G, Lehigh; Mike Rauchut, D, Bryant
Episcopal – Cody Isdaner, A, Wagner; Matt Lerman, G, Syracuse
Division 1 Junior Commitments
Malvern Prep – Ryan Creighton, M, North Carolina; Bobby Hill, M, Virginia; Henry Lobb, LSM, Duke; Andrew O’Connell, G, North Carolina
Haverford School – Stephen Aitken, A, Penn State; Liam O’Connor, M/FO, Notre Dame
Division 3 Seniors
Malvern Prep – Andrew Layne, M, Cabrini; Dom Nappi, M/FO, Scranton
Haverford School – George Brooke, D/LSM, Washington & Lee; Colton Growney, M, Williams; Will Horrocks, A, Washington College; Ryan Mansmann, M, Gettysburg; Austin Wolfington, D, Franklin & Marshall
Episcopal – John Gormley, M, Randolph Macon
Germantown Academy – Zach Zappala, M, Scranton
The pre-season rankings
Malvern’s schedule kicks off Monday with Hill Academy (Canada), and also includes Calvert Hall (MD), Arapahoe (CO), McDonogh (MD), La Salle, Gilman (MD), St. Augustine Prep (NJ), Darien (CT) and Lawrenceville (NJ).
Haverford plays St. Paul’s of Maryland’s MIAA Saturday to open the scholastic season, and will also play non-league foes Loyola-Blakefield and McDonogh of the MIAA. Addionally, the Fords will take on McCallie (TN), Western Reserve Academy (OH), Lawrenceville, St. Anthony’s (NY), La Salle and Brunswick School (CT).
Penn Charter plays Loyola in another game Saturday, and will also test themselves against McDonogh, St. Anne’s-Belfield, Lawrenceville and St. Augustine Prep.
Episcopal starts its schedule with Landon (MD) a week from today and will also play Peddie (NJ), La Salle and the Hill School.
GA will open its schedule with St. Anne’s-Belfield and also plays Covenant (VA) and St. Joseph’s Prep.
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Lacrosse Association