By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/19/14
Senior goalie and Star of the Game Carson Cocco led the defense and sophomore Kyle Anderson scored three goals as Malvern Prep defeated Haverford School, 10-9, Monday in the Inter-Ac Invitational championship at Cabrini College.
The win closed a perfect 24-0 season for the Friars, who also won their first Invitational title after three losses to Haverford in the finals.
Cocco was clutch, making 10 saves while earning the YBH Audi-Volkswagen Star of the Game. Malvern Prep – which won its second straight outright Inter-Ac crown – also completed a rare three-game sweep of the Fords.
“It’s indescribable, it’s unbelievable to pull out that 24th win,” said Cocco. “Early in the season we didn’t think, ‘We’re undefeated.’ It didn’t pop into our minds, we just focused on who we had next and what we had to do to prepare for that team.
“Right now, it’s just kind of sinking in that we had an undefeated season and the first Inter-Ac Invitational championship for Malvern Prep.”
“I am just so proud of all these guys, we worked from start to finish through cold nights and close games and all that kind of stuff,” said Malvern prep senior defenseman and Under Armour All-American Greg Pelton. “I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.
“Haverford’s an amazing team. I said from the beginning of the year that our goal was to beat them three times and (that it) was going to be the toughest thing we can possibly do. But this year, all those one-goal games (wins) – six and now seven – helped us prepare for this. We just kept grinding there was no hesitation or doubt; we just kept persevering.”
Dox Aitken tied the game for Haverford School with 8.7 seconds to play in the third period, but Tripp Traynor gave the Friars a 7-6 lead to open the fourth quarter and Sparky Hilburn then fed Anderson for an 8-6 lead.
The Fords responded as Drew Supinski scored his third, but Kevin McGeary (two goals) made it 9-7 and Conor Glancy gave the Friars a three-goal lead with 2:55 left.
Aitken scored his third for the Fords to make it 10-8, but Cocco made a key save and the Friars cleared before icing nearly all the clock. The Fords did score an odd goal (on a long toss by defenseman Connor Black) with two seconds left as hundreds of fans stormed the field thinking Malvern had won.
The field was cleared the Friars finally had their Inter-Ac title and their first undefeated season, at least in coach John McEvoy’s memory. McEvoy said that Haverford changed its defensive plan by putting poles on the Friar midfielders in hopes of disrupting their attack.
“We’re probably middie generated,” said McEvoy. “We create through our midfield and he (Haverford coach John Nostrant) knows that. They poled our middies and they did a great job of getting us out of our rhythm. Our kids figured it out, it wasn’t my coaching.
“It’s a great memory maker for (us), they earned it. I told them, ‘You earned this opportunity, but just being talented isn’t going to get it. We had to go back to fundamental stuff.”
“It’s pretty surreal beating Haverford three times; it’s impossible,” said Anderson. “I think we played this whole year as a team and it showed how we came together in the second half.
“I think the closeness of our teams helps us win these close games. From seniors down to freshmen are tight. We hang out together and have a really good time.”
Haverford School Under Armour All-American defenseman Connor Keating was disappointed with the loss, but proud of his team’s performance.
“We had a great season and a better group of guys,” he said. “There was no other way I’d rather have my senior year end than to go out with a bunch of a friends to play with for the last time.
“Win or lose, we had a great run and I had a great group of friends and a great run, and I am thankful for the coaches and players that surrounded me for the entire ride. We knew we needed to play hard and match their intensity and I think we did. They got the break -it was a great game for both sides.”
Malvern Prep 10, Haverford School 9
Malvern Prep 1-2-3-4- 10
Haverford School 2-2-2-3 – 9
Kyle Anderson 3g
Greg Pelton 1g, 1a
Sparky Hilburn 1g, 1a
Adam Goldner 1g
Kevin McGeary 2g
Tripp Traynor 1g
Conor Glancy 1g
Carson Cocco 10 saves
Charles Kelly 12of 21 FO
Grant Ament 1g
Shane McBride 1a
Drew Supinski 3g
Tyler Will 1g
Dox Aitken 3g, 1a
Brandon Shima 2a
Connor Black 1g
Alex deMarco 7 saves