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‘Checking for Cancer’ Invitational: Haverford School defeats Darien (CT), 11-5 in battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2

Saturday, 16th April 2011

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 4/16/11

Host Haverford School won 19 of 20 face-offs and used a 5-0 run in the middle periods to take control as it defeated Darien (Conn.), 11-5, today in the feature game of the 3rd annual “Checking for Cancer” Invitational.

Georgetown Prep coach Kevin Giblin (left) and Haverford School coach John Nostrant are the two big proponents for awareness and early detection of cancer. Nostrant is a survivor of prostate cancer (diagnosed in 2007) and Giblin has been cancer-free for 2 years since being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The two have been close friends since their playing days at Washington College (Md.).

The Fords, ranked No. 1 in the country in all three national polls, improved to 11-0. Darien, ranked No. 2 in two national polls and third in another, fell to 4-1.

Brendan McGrath scored three goals while Hup Hupfeldt (two goals, one assist) and Zach Rego (two goals) sparked the attack. Joe McCallion (one goal, two assists) won an amazing 15 of 15 face-offs while Will Gural took 4 of 5 while Goran Murray and Alex Beatty and goalie Conor Kelly (eight saves) led a defense that limited the Blue Wave to two goals over the final two-and-a-half periods.

Even more important to the rainy day was the cause: the event was created to bring awareness to early detection of three men’s cancers: colorectal, testicular and prostate. Literature was handed out to provide facts about early detection and funds raised go to various organizations in cancer research and development.

Haverford School coach John Nostrant and Georgetown Prep mentor Kevin Giblin – whose team defeated Delbarton (N.J), 11-6 – have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years.

Nostrant was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 and is a cancer survivor. Giblin has received treatment for colorectal cancer and has now been cancer free for two years.

The two were roommates at Washington College (Md.) and line mates on the lacrosse field. Always close friends, their fight against cancer and desire to prevent others from being diagnosed with the disease through education have brought them even closer and become one of the great stories of lacrosse in the region and beyond. (watch the game on

“We all have our coach in our heart and in our minds,” Murray said. “We’re playing today to represent our coach and how hard he works for our team and what he has gone through. It’s a great day.”

Also today, Conestoga, the No. 2 –ranked team in Pennsylvania and No. 2 in the ESPN RISE Powerade Fab 50, handled Greenwich (CT), 13-5 and Downingtown East edged Radnor, 6-5, on a last-second goal.

In the late games, La Salle routed Wilton (CT), 12-4, and Fairfield Prep (CT) defeated Chatham (N.J.), 10-8. In the first of two girls’ games, Baldwin School defeated Friends’ Central, 21-14.

In Haverford School’s win, junior standout Case Matheis scored two straight goals, the second with 4:17 left in the first half, to give his team a short-lived 3-2 lead after the Fords had scored two quick goals to open the game. But Haverford School dominated the rest of the game.

First, Hupfeldt scored to tie it with 3:54 left in the half and then he put his team ahead to stay with 1:17 remaining. Haverford School then scored the first three goals of the second half – by Rego, McCallion and Gavin McBride – to stretch the margin to 7-3.

Murray blanked Matheis in the second half and Kelly made all the key stops when Darien finally got the ball as McCallion and Gural not only won 95 percent of the face-offs but also helped spark the Haverford School transition.

“That was the difference-maker; we were 1 for 20 in face-offs,” said Darien coach Jeff Brameier. “You can’t really compete with a top-level team when you give up that many possessions.

“I thought their defense wore us down a little. I thought our offense did OK when we did have the ball, but we just didn’t have it that much. Then when we did get it back we pressured to do some things and gave it back to them.”

McCallion said the Fords have been able to focus on each team this year, despite extensive hype and the No. 1 ranking from Day 1.

“Obviously, the hype is something that’s great,” he said. “We try to not ignore it, but acknowledge that every team steps up and plays their best against us.

“We try to take one team at a time. We played EA (Friday; an 11-5 win) and that’s what we talked about. We didn’t talk about Darien. Today we talked about Darien and we got it done.”

Nostrant made a point, as he has before, about thanking the Haverford School parents for their tireless work in organizing the invitational, which expanded to two girls’ games and is clearly one of the top scholastic events of the year.

“The lacrosse community is a wonderful community no matter where you are,” he said. “It’s a great event and I really think the kids ‘get’ it.

“My parents are phenomenal. The amount of work in putting this day on … I can’t even tell you. I am so grateful for their efforts.”

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