By Buddy Scott & Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/26/10
Matt Walters scored on a wrap-around goal with 52 seconds left in overtime tonight to lift Haverford School to a thrilling 7-6 victory over Episcopal Academy in the Inter-Ac League Invitational championship game
at Cabrini College.
The goal capped a brilliant rally by the top-seeded Fords (20-4), who trailed, 6-4, after three periods and tied it on a goal by Brendan McGrath (two goals) with 1:23 left in regulation.
Haverford School owned the ball in the final period and in overtime thanks to the work at the face-off X by Liam O’Connor. Walters tallied the game-winner after coming around the back of the cage and beating Tyler Morrell, who had kept his team ahead most of the way with 11 saves.
“It was a split dodge from the top of the key and I went low with the shot,” said Walters, a junior who has committed to Syracuse. “(Winning) is just awesome.”
Walters, who scored twice, was named the STX Player of the Game. O’Connor, Carl Walrath and Stephen Aitken scored once each for the Fords. Joe McCallion, also strong at the face-off X, added two assists and Conor Kelly made seven saves in goal.
The Fords, who shared the Inter-Ac championship with Malvern Prep, repeated as Invitational champions.
Chase Growney led third-seeded EA (16-6) with two goals and two assists while Andrew Gordon, Nicky Lenard, Tyler Odell and Shane Morrell each scored once.
The Churchmen played stifling defense, even without senior standout Bryson Craft, who left the game in the first half after taking a hard hit. Haverford School defeated EA twice in the regular season by scores of 10-3 and 12-6, but the Churchmen never trailed until the final goal and opened a 4-1 lead in the first period on goals by Lenard and Odell in the final 24 seconds of the frame.
The Inter-Ac Invitational was created last year after the league members were no longer able to participate in the state tournament, which is now sanctioned by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The Inter-Ac, which added New Jersey prep power Lawrenceville School to the tourney this year, is not a member of the PIAA.
Episcopal had defeated second-seeded Malvern Prep, 5-4, to reach the finals.
“Our guys played to the last whistle,” said EA coach Andy Hayes. “We had our opportunities, but against a team like the Haverford School you have to finish the game because they can score goals in bunches. I wouldn’t do anything different; our kids played so hard today and I’m proud of all these guys.
“In sports, sometimes the ball doesn’t go your way and we ran out of gas at the end. That’s what happens against teams like Haverford – that’s why they’re one of the best teams in the country.”
Haverford School 1-2-3-1 – 7
Episcopal Ac. 4-1-1-0 – 6
Stephen Aitken 1g
Carl Walrath 1g, 1a
Liam O’Connor 1g
Brendan McGrath 2g
Matt Walters 2g
Joe McCallion 2a
Conor Kelly 7 saves
Shane Morrell 1g
Tyler Odell 1g
Chase Growney 2g, 2a
Andrew Gordon 1g
Sam Lawlor 1a
Nicky Lenard 1g
Tyler Morrell 11 saves