Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/25/11
By Chris Goldberg and Nick Desatnick
Senior Carl Walrath tied the game with 36.9 seconds in regulation and won it with 9.8 seconds to play to give Haverford School a stunning 5-4 comeback victory tonight over Malvern Prep in the championship game of the Inter-Ac Invitational before 1,500 at Cabrini College.
The dramatic victory over their arch rivals helped the Fords cap a perfect 23-0 season in style. The victory virtually assures that Haverford School will be the No. 1 team in every national poll; the Fords have been No. 1 all season in the ESPN RISE POWERADE FAB 50, Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse and Max Preps Xcellent 20 polls all season.
Malvern Prep (14-6) employed a zone defense that frustrated the Fords nearly the entire game. But the Friars, who jumped to a 4-1 lead in the first period, failed to make a clear with 52 seconds left after sophomore goalie Matt Barrett (12 saves in second half) made one of his many key saves off a shot by Matt Walters.
The Fords gained possession and then Will McNamara fed Walrath – the YBH Audi Volkswagen Star of Game – for the game-tying goal.
Haverford’s Joe McCallion, who won more than 50 percent of the face-offs against Malvern Prep’s Drew Kennedy, won the next draw and Haverford School set up its attack. The Fords worked it to Walrath, who scored from close in with 9.8 ticks on the clock.
McCallion won the final face-off and Haverford killed the clock as fans poured onto the field to celebrate arguably one of the finest high school seasons in Philly history, and beyond.
“This means everything,” said Haverford School senior defenseman Alex Beatty, who missed all of last year while recovering from a serious knee injury and returned to make a huge impact. “We were down, 4-3, in the fourth quarter with 50 seconds left and Carl made two amazing plays.
“It hasn’t even hit me yet. I missed 18 months … to be able to come back and play and go undefeated…”
Goalie Conor Kelly kept Haverford School alive with eight saves and Grove Stewart had a key goal late in the third period to make it 4-3.
“It feels unbelievable. This whole season has been incredible, but [going undefeated] has been like the elephant in the room,” said Walrath. “We all wanted to go undefeated, but we didn’t talk about it much. We all knew that all of these wins were great, but until we got the last one, it didn’t really matter.
“Now everything is rushing back, all of the wins, and it’s just incredible.”
Attackman Hup Hupfeldt added, “Everyone did a great job all season. We never doubted ourselves… It’s just unbelievable. I don’t know what to say.”
While hoisting the Inter-Ac Trophy in the air, Stewart echoed this sentiment: “It’s absolutely amazing. Best feeling in the world, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Haverford School coach John Nostrant, whose team has won all three Inter-Ac Invitational crowns, said his players kept their composure in the face of tremendous pressure.
“I’m just an emotional train wreck, but the bottom line is that this group of guys got along with each other, and trusted each other,” he said. “And when you trust each other, that’s what happens. It’s great for the kids.”
For Malvern Prep, the loss was a major heartbreaker. The Friars employed a zone defense that had the Fords off balance until the end. Malvern’s goaltending was superb and the Friars did not miss in the first period when TJ Hanzsche, Colin Farrell, Chris Hilburn and Keith Dreyer scored to give the Friars a 4-1 lead. Kennedy was a force in the beginning, but McCallion was strong in the second period and beyond.
The Malvern defense was created by Friars coach David Metzbower, who coached under close friend Nostrant last year after leaving a long career as the top assistant at Princeton un the legendary Bill Tierney.
Barrett wished to praise the Malvern Prep defense, led by Wes Pancoast, Jack Sheridan, Eddie Morris and Jack Morgenthaler. “Credit my defense they played great,” he said. “They kept them to the outside, I give it to Haverford…Carl Walrath made a great play, nothing you could do about it…we will win this next year…100 percent.”
Hupfeldt said his team expected the Friars to make it difficult to go undefeated.
“In the first half, Drew Kennedy did an unbelievable job winning face-offs, and their offense did a great job keeping possession,” Hupfeldt said. “We know Malvern. They are a very smart team that doesn’t give up much. They came out really hard, and almost got the best of us.”
“But,” Brent Tomlinson chimed in, “they didn’t. Nothing worthwhile in life ever comes easy, and we sure showed that today.”
Beatty said it was special to beat Malvern Prep to clinch the undefeated season.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times, especially Malvern. Malverm always plays their ‘A’ game against us. They definitely got up. But we got the ‘W’ and that’s all that matters.”
Beatty said it will take time to let the season sink in, but he said playing with his teammates has made coming back from a devastating injury worthwhile.
“It definitely hasn’t hit me yet,” he said. “To go undefeated is just an unbelievable experience. To play with these guys has been has been the experience of a lifetime.”
Haverford School 5, Malvern Prep 4
Haverford School 2-0-1-2- 5
Malvern Prep 4-0-0-0-4
Carl Walrath 2g
Grove Stewart 1g
Matt Walters 1g
Brendan McGrath 1g
Will McNamara 1a
Conor Kelly 8 saves
TJ Hanzsche 1g
Colin Farrell 1g
Chris Hilburn 1g
Keith Dreyer 1g
Russell Atkinson 1a
Ryan McDevitt 5 saves
Matt Barrett 12 saves