By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/24/12
It’s hard to imagine anybody was looking forward more to the exhibition game Saturday night between the USA U19 team and Team Philly than Chris “Hup” Hupfeldt and Bobby Tait.
Hupfeldt, an All-American attackman on Haverford School’s undefeated team in 2011, missed his entire freshman year at Penn this season due to a torn labrum in his shoulder. He was selected to be an alternate for the U19 team, but had not played a real game until Saturday.
Tait, an All-American defenseman from Germantown Academy, missed his freshman year at Syracuse in 2012 due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury, ironically, was sustained on the first day of tryouts for the U19 team last summer.
So when Hupfeldt scored two goals and Tait played solid defense in helping the Philly team deal the US squad a 15-14 overtime defeat in a special exhibition and USA fundraiser at Radnor High, the two Philly players were ecstatic.
“It’s been a long year,” said Tait. “It was an awesome game!
“There were a few nerves coming back for the first time. But I settled in and I thought the team played great , the goalies played great and it was a great atmosphere. I was proud I could be a part of it.”
Said Hupfeldt: “It was so nice for my first time playing to come back and play with all my best friends in Philly. Just to represent the state vs. the USA was really exciting. It was a great time and I am so happy we won.”
Hupfeldt originally sustained his injury last summer and then popped out his shoulder several times during the start of Penn’s Fall Ball season. He then learned his labrum was torn.
He said he is 100 percent recovered and showed his scoring touch with one goal in the second quarter and then another in the third to give his team an 8-6 after Team USA came out strong in the second half. Hupfeldt had a chance to tie the game late in the second overtime, but was stoned by Zach Oliveri in tight, but Beau Jones put in the rebound to make it 14-14 and set the stage for Matt Rambo’s game-winner in the final 10 seconds.
“I just thought about i too much and the goalie got me,” Hupfeldt smiled. “But Beau Jones finished the play. It was a really special win.”
Hupfeldt admitted that the Philly players – who had one practice on Thursday – wanted to prove something since none had made the final USA roster.
“We talked about that when we were at practice and we just really wanted to represent the state,” Hupfeldt said. “We have a lot of good players in Philly and we knew we had a chance so we wanted to come out and work hard. It worked out for us.”
Tait said his knee felt 100 percent in his first game out.
“It’s something you take day by day, getting the rehab and working out,” he said of the injury, which prevented him from being able to play in the inaugural BIG EAST tournament held last month in Philly which Syracuse won. “Definitely, it’s been a full circle coming around and getting to play.
“These guys are really cool. I’m glad it happened and I’m glad it was such a good game.”
Tait also was pleased to play with his Syracuse teammate, Matt Walters (Haverford School), and against his other Orange teammate, USA defenseman Ralph D’Agostino.
“It was awesome to see all those guys, Ralph and Matt, and to get together for the Philly team. It was a great group of guys and I was glad to be a part of it.”