By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/25/12
Episcopal Academy scored five of the last six goals to stun Haverford School, 15-11, Thursday night in the Inter-Ac Invitational championship game before a sold-out crowd at Cabrini College.
The Churchmen (18-5) won their first Inter-Ac Invitational title and dealt the Fords (21-2) their first loss to a Pennsylvania team after 35 straight wins.
EA rallied from an early 4-0 deficit by using a swift passing game and strong defense, especially in the second half when Haverford managed just three goals. The key was winning possessions as senior face-off specialist Jon Garino was named the YBH Audi-Volkswagen MVP by winning 20 of 28 draws.
Tyler Odell and Morgan Westby each scored three goals to lead a balanced attack for the Churchmen, who also won the battle of groundballs by a 27-19 margin. Sam Lawlor added two goals and two assists, Connor Haab had a goal and three assists and Trupert Ortlieb had two goals and an assist while Ian Strain scored twice for EA.
“I have never in my career beaten Haverford, and I have been waiting 17 years for this,” said EA goalie Henry Coote (six saves), who was named to the all-tourney team “I couldn’t imagine a better way for it to happen. We knew we were going to be underdogs the entire season.
“We had a great year, and we lost a few games we should have had. But we stuck together and never got down and came all the way back to get this. It’s awesome.”
“This is special, everything about this game was special,” added Garino, who played with four broken ribs sustained in the Lawrenceville game. “The pain is pretty bad, but with the adrenaline flowing it was an afterthought to be honest.
“When we went down 4-0, it was no big deal. Lacrosse is a game of runs; I just watched Duke fall behind early to Colgate (at the NCAA quarterfinals on Sunday at PPL Park) and rally back. It was early in the first quarter so anything can happen. We know how to deal with adversity.”
Haverford School entered play ranked No. 2 in the nation in every national poll and could have won a second straight mythical national title with a victory and a Garden City loss in the New York state playoffs.
“We played our best two games this week and the best teams play their best games in May,” said EA coach Andy Hayes, whose Churchmen had advanced to the finals with an 11-4 victory over Lawrenceville School on Monday. “I am very proud of my kids. They played awesome tonight in every facet – groundballs, face-offs, scoring … they executed our game plan.
“Even when we went down (4-0). It was like, ‘Whatever,’ It’s all a part of playing in a big game. That’s one of the best teams (Haverford School) in the country, but we worked really really hard and our game plan was to make them work for 48 minutes and it worked.”
Perhaps the most talk-about goal was an over-the-head, no-look tally by defenseman Billy McAvoy that tied the game, 7-7, late in the third period.
The game continued to go back and fourth until the end of the third period when Westby put his team ahead for good, 11-10, with 1:51 to play.
Then in the final period Ortlieb scored off a Haab feed at 8:31 and Odell made it 13-10 eight seconds later as Garino triggered the fastbreak goal. Sam Rohr scored for Haverford School to make it 13-11, but Lawlor scored 45 seconds later and Odell clinched it.
“Everyone played great, we had so many people step up on offense,” said Haab. “People really stepped it up in the second half, Billy McAvoy had one of the best goals I have ever seen and it’s overwhelming.”
The Fords had defeated EA twice this year, 9-8 in overtime and 9-6.
“Haverford is such a great team and we have so much respect for them, and credit them to come out so strong,” said Lawlor. “But we lost to them two times this year and we weren’t going to let it happen again.
“We dug it out and Henry made some key saves. The seniors helped us pull it out. It was great to finally beat then; we respect them so much, but this was our time.
“The first time we played them we thought we had it. We could have just accepted they were the better team, but we used that instead to work harder. They beat us again and it made us even angrier. Instead of moping, we worked so hard in practice to prepare for this night.”
The Fords were led by Henry Blynn, who had three goals and two assists; and Rohr, who added three goals and an assist.
“That’s the best we’ve ever seen them play,” said Haverford School senior defenseman Scott Warren. “We were really counting on our defense. Somehow they beat us top. Their middies had good dodges and made us slide fast. That was probably one of the poorest defensive games we’ve played in a while. Give credit to them. Their shots were really accurate.”
The Churchmen had lost eight straight times to Haverford School and last defeated the Fords, 5-4, in four overtimes on April 14, 2009. EA had reached the Inter-Ac finals once before, bowing to Haverford, 7-6, in overtime in the 2010 final.
“It’s a huge win,” said Hayes. “We’re hoping to get where they are and with more wins like this, that will happen.”
Warren said his Fords will leave the year with a bitter taste, but would most remember a brilliant season.
“It’s tough,” he said. “I just said to the whole team that this leaves a real bad taste on your mouth,” he said. “It seems after four years we got cheated out of our accomplishments this year and cheated out of our accomplishments last year.
“But before every single game we talk and tell each other we’re playing for each other, not for the show. That’s how I am going to think about this. We need to put this out of our minds and move forward.
“This was just one thing we missed – just one game. It just had to be the last one.”
Episcopal Academy 15, Haverford School 11
Episcopal Academy 3-6-2-4- 15
Haverford School 5-3-2-1- 11
Trupert Ortlieb 2g, 1a
Tyler Odell 3g
Connor Haab 1g, 3a
Ian Strain 2g
Sam Lawlor 2g, 2a
Billy McAvoy 1g
Tyler Haab 1g
Morgan Westby 3g
Dutch Buckley 1a
Henry Coote 6 saves
Jon Garino 20 of 28 FO, MVP
Henry Blynn 3g, 2a
Timmy Brooks 1g
Gavin McBride 2g
Will McNamara 1g
Zach Rego 1g, 2a
James Chaker 1a
Sam Rohr 3g, 1a
Jake Landman 9 saves
Groundballs – EA 27, HS 19