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Scholastic boys: Malvern Prep beats Haverford School again, forces tie atop Inter-Ac League

Friday, 7th May 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Posted 5/7/10
Staff Report

Mike Dougherty scored the game-winner in the final five minutes to lift host Malvern Prep to a stunning 7-6 victory over Haverford School today in Inter-Ac League boys’ lacrosse, giving the Friars a sweep of the regular-season series while forcing a logjam atop the league standings with one week left in the season.

Malvern Prep's Mark Jackson (left) takes a hit during the Friars' 7-6 win (Photo by Warren Samolsky)

Malvern Prep – which defeated the Fords, 9-7, earlier in the year – takes over first place in the Inter-Ac with a 5-2 mark. The Friars (10-6 overall) have one game to play, Tuesday at Germantown Academy. Haverford School (16-4 overall), the No. 2 team in the PA Media Rankings, is in second, one half-game ahead of Episcopal Academy (3-2), which plays Penn Charter tomorrow.

Haverford School, down, 4-2, at halftime, had taken a 6-5 lead early in the fourth period when Malvern Prep’s standout junior face-off specialist/midfielder, Drew Kennedy, tied the game off a draw. Kennedy dominated at the face-off X all afternoon.

Another Malvern Prep standout was senior goalie Andrew O’Connell (15 saves), the North Carolina signee who also was brilliant when the teams met the first time. The Friars’ defense also did a yeoman job, keeping the dangerous Fords away from the goal while limiting their fastbreak opportunities.

TJ Hanzsche scored two goals for the Friars, while Keith Dreyer, Jon Gilmartin and Bobby Hill each scored once. Ryan Creighton had an assist.

“All along we knew who we were as a team,” said Malvern Prep senior midfielder Mark Jackson, one of the keys to the Friars’ defense. “As a team we’re confident in our personnel and in the back of our minds we knew we matched up well with Haverford.

“They are a great team but rather than game plan against how good they were, we game-planned to our strengths. In a season with a lot of losses, we knew we could always rally and try and win the league.”

Matt Walters led the Fords with two goals and goalie Conor Kelly made 11 saves.

O’Connell had some of his best saves in the closing minutes when the Friars staved off a man-down situation. Jackson also cited Kennedy as the hero.

“A lot of guys stepped up today,” said Jackson. “Mike Dougherty (got the game-winner) and Drew Kennedy completely dominated the game in my opinion.

“We won the game at the X. And down the stretch we were a man down in the final; minute and Andrew O’Connell made countless saves at the doorstep. It wasn’t just how many saves he made, it was the timing. He made some amazing split saves. Then you’d think, ‘There is a goal,’ and he’d come out of nowhere to save it. He is unbelievable, he never ceases to amaze me.

“Also, Bobby Hill had a bunch of big time clears and got us some big possessions.”

Jackson said he and the rest of the captains held a team meeting after the Friars were routed by Conestoga, 8-1, at Katie Samson two weeks ago. Since then, Malvern Prep has responded with key Inter-Ac wins over Penn Charter (8-5), Episcopal Academy (6-5 in double overtime) and now Haverford School.

“We all realized that despite a couple tough losses, in our heart of hearts we knew we were a better team,” Jackson said. “Everyone was down on us after the Conestoga loss and the captains called the guys in and said we had two options – throw in the towel or use this as a turning point.

“We knew we still had a shot at a league title and that we controlled our own destiny. After this big win, we called in everybody and said that this win is nothing if we go out and lay a goose egg against GA. They are a very capable team and our job as captains is to keep the team focused.”

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