Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/18/14
Jesse Frazier scored five goals – including the game winner – and James Vandergrift added two goals and four assists as host Academy of the New Church defeated Westtown School Saturday to win the Friends Schools League boys’ lacrosse championship.
Top-seeded ANC (15-3) won its first Friends League title since 2007 for rookie coach Rob Forster. It had fallen in the title game to five-time defending champion Shipley four straight times, from 2009-12.
Frazier, a junior attackman, put his Lions ahead, 9-8 with five minutes left, after ANC had not scored for nine minutes. Shane McCcurdy (two goals) scored off a Vandergrift assist to make it 10-8 with 3:30 left.
“I was driving up the left side and the defender was playing me top side,” said Frazier of the game-winner. “I couldn’t get to the left top side so I rolled back, did a question mark and saw a spot and hit it.
“It was incredible,” added Frazier of the championship. “It is hard to explain; I am just so happy and excited. I really loved what the coaches did this year and I was really happy with how we played yesterday.”
In 2013, ANC went 5-13, making its turnaround one of the most impressive one in years in the region.
“The whole atmosphere changed,” said Frazier of the new coach and his staff. “Knowing we would come into this year with a positive attitude and knowing big things could happen helped the team’s mindset.”
Defensemen Eric Carr, Hayden Troutman, Landon elder and sophomore goalie Liam McGrath (seven saves) made a number of clutch plays in the final minutes to preserve the win.
“Liam made a huge stop with 2 minutes left to seal the game for us,” said Forster. “I could not be more proud of this group. Our staff pushed them hard all year just for this game. This was our goal coming into the year, to win the Friends League.
“We had not done it in seven years and we thought if we put in the work it would be a very attainable goal. These kids deserve this championship for their dedication and hard work to the team.”
Cam Elliot added a goal and two assist for ANC.
For Westtown, Luke Frankel had two goals and two assists, Jeff Novak had two goals and one assist and Kip McGuire had a goal and two assists. Clay McKee, Matt Munts and Jake Chien each scored once
“The coaches had a really good game plan for us,” Frazier said. “We watched film this week on Westtown and we had set plays for their zone that really worked well. They ran a 2-3-1. We had trust in each other moving the ball and taking good shots.
“We had trust in them. We did not have a big roster, so we had to scrap every game and believe in each other.”
Forster said the championship was a just reward for a group that workd hard to improve all year.
“The game was back and forth all day,” said Forster. “They were a very athletic and well coached team. I was very proud of the way our guys handled the ups and downs of the game and were able to stay focused on the next play. We showed a lot of grit an mental toughness today! When we needed a play Jesse Frazier and James Vandergrift made it for us offensively.”
Academy of the New Church 10, Westtown 8
ANC 1-6-1-2- 10
Westtown 1-4-2-1- 8
Jesse Frazier 5 goals
Cam Elliot 1 goal 2 assist
James Vandergrift 2 goals 4 assist
Shane McCurdy 2 goals
Liam McGrath 7 saves
Luke Frankel 2 g, 2 a
Jeff Novak 2 g, 1 a
Kip McGuire 1 g, 2 a
Clay McKee 1 g
Matt Munts 1 g
Jake Chien 1 g
Tristen Pankake 4 saves