Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/10/11
Ever wonder if Philly superpowers Haverford School and Conestoga had the chance to play again on the lacrosse field at the end of the 2011 season?
Well, LaxPower gave us some food for thought when it launched its third annual National Online Lacrosse Tournament (NOLT).
The virtual “tourney’ featured the top high school teams in the country in a 64-team, single-elimination tournament. Four experts picked each game along with the LaxPower computer.
The final (see below) featured Haverford School – the No. 1 in every national poll – two-time and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association champion Conestoga. The two teams – ranked 1-2 at the time – met at the Katie Samson Festival this April before a packed house over some 3,000 at Radnor High, with the Fords claiming an 11-6 victory.
The “experts” – only joking guys – were LaxPower property management director and former Philly high school coach Jimmy Oliver, Radnor High grad and popular Kudda.com broadcaster Booker Corrigan, ESPN RISE lacrosse editor Mike Loveday and LB3 club founder and former Ward Melville high (N.Y.) and Syracuse University great Liam Banks, also the Head of Sports Marketing in the Southeast for Warrior and Brine Lacrosse
On to the championship game, a rematch of two Pennsylvania rivals …
Haverford School vs. Conestoga
Banks: These two teams are spectacular. Every position is strong, and the defenses could play against college teams. This Main Line rivalry was a great one. Private vs. public, with winning streaks on the line. Conestoga wins by one in overtime, 10-9. Great goaltending holds off the offensive blizzard of Haverford, and the public school prevails in the Main Line battle. Pick: Conestoga
Loveday: Haverford School and Conestoga were two of the top teams throughout the 2011 season, and the title game is a rematch of their regular season meeting. Haverford came out on top in the first game and, given the teams the Fords have defeated throughout this tournament, it is very difficult to pick against them in the championship. There is not much to add to these teams’ accolades that have not been said through the first four rounds – just sit back and enjoy the game. Pick: Haverford School
Corrigan: The Fords got goals from Brendan McGrath and Hup Hupfeldt late in the 4th quarter to force overtime. Coach John Nostradt was surprised by the flow of the game but thrilled with the senior leadership. “Games take on their own identity, and this one was an instant classic from the opening faceoff,” said the victorious Haverford coach. “I give a great deal of credit to this Conestoga team, and they have a very bright future with the quality of their junior class.”
Conestoga coach Brian Samson was dejected but was able to find the silver lining. “Haverford has a great senior leaders, and in a double OT championship game, sometimes that can make all the difference.”
Joe Macallion took the opening draw for Haverford, and it led to the textbook fast break that the Ford’s have run for the entire season. Carl Walrath hit the diagonal pass to Penn-bound lefty attacker Hup Hupfeldt, and the clash of the Philly based teams was in high gear. Gavin McBride notched his 4th tournament goal late in the first quarter and Haverford led 5-4.
Conestoga was led statistically by the duo of Frisina and Lord, who tallied 4 goals apiece, including extra-man goals in the second half. Jake Scott notched another crucial goal in his emergence as a player to be reckoned with. Robbie Zinino played his usual steller game between the pipes, making 15 saves in his best game since the win over Baltimore power Boys’ Latin in March.
I like playing against great shooters and have had some good games with this group of defenders,” said Zinino as he walked arm-in-arm with star defender Jamie Ikeda. The last time Stoga suffered a defeat of this magnitude, it was an OT loss at Radnor in 1983, 7-6. Schools that are separated by a dozen miles on the map turned out to be even closer on the field. Pick: Haverford School
Oliver: This one will be different than when these squads last met at the Katy Samson Festival. Conestoga is a different team and capable of hanging with and beating Haverford. The first quarter is slow, with the teams scoring just one goal each, Haverford on a rip from McGrath and Conestoga off a nifty backdoor from Frisina. The second quarter is more back and forth, with Haverford scoring the next two and Conestoga answering with three to take a slim half-time lead.
To start the third, ‘Stoga wins two consecutive face-offs and scores on fast breaks each time with feeds to Brooke for the goals. But then Haverford finds a groove on both ends. Kelly makes three great saves in the last five minutes of the third to spark the Fords to pull within one going into the fourth. McCallion starts the quarter with a pinch and pop face-off for an unassisted goal to tie the game, and it becomes a defensive battle for the last 10 minutes. With two minutes to go, Walrath gets a dodge from the wing and a late slide by ‘Stoga to score, and Haverford holds on for the victory. Pick: Haverford School
Computer: Pick: Haverford School
Champion: Haverford School