By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/23/15
For a few minutes, Culver Military Academy had No. 1 Haverford School on the proverbial ropes.
The Eagles were leading the No. 1 Fords on their home field, 7-3, early in the second half. But Haverford School rallied and claimed a 13-9 victory to finish its season at 26-0 and likely clinch the No. 1 spot in every national poll.
For Culver, which went into this morning’s game vs. Lawrenvceville School at 16-6, the loss was a tough pill. Just six days ago the Eagles had a late lead against No. 4 Hill Academy and ended up losing in overtime in the title game of the North American Lacrosse Invitational at Brother Rice (MI).
Culver coach Jon Posner credited Haverford School.
“First congratulations to (Fords coach) John Nostrant,” he said. “That’s a very impressive team. Probably the most impressive thing about that team is that they don’t stop fighting. They’re down 7-3 and go up and score 10 goals. They are tough and they are deep.
“I think what (was working) was the fact we were winning face-offs and when ae stopped winning face-offs we played 24 minutes of defense in the second half.”
Behind the scoring of Ethan Walker (three goals), Dawson McKenzie (three) and William Clayton (two), Culver took a 5-2 lead with the held of four goals scored after Haverford School was called for a 3-minute unreleasable stick penalty.
But in the second half, the Fords’ Jake Hervada began to dominate at the face-off X and goalie Alex DeMarco (16 saves) helped turn the momentum.
Posner said the Fords’ all-around talent and depth was too much to overcome.
“Their midfielders are fast; they like to get underneath you,” he said. “They are very athletic. When you have big strong kids it forces our kids to rotate and it makes it had to cover off a rotation.
“They go hard to the net. They’re a good team and they are deep and they have great attackmen and their goalie played great. We had an opportunity to bury them and he made some saves he shouldn’t make.”
Posner was asked to compare Haverford School and Ontario power Hill Academy – the two teams were scheduled to play early in the year but the game was called due to inclement weather.
“They’re two different teams,” said Posner. “Hill is a little more like us where they play the two-man game. Hill’s very good. I would say, playing both, my take is Haverford is a better team because of how deep they are.”
Culver’s season began two months ago in Philly with a one-goal loss to Episcopal Academy, which like Haverford School plays in the Inter-Ac League. The Eagles were very young this year and used only two seniors on Friday.
“I think we’ve grown a lot this year,” said Posner. “We came out to Philadelphia two months from today and we’re a much different team.
“We’re young; two freshmen are getting regular shifts, we are playing four sophomores and only two seniors played today. The future is bright, but you want to get these kind of games back because we had an opportunity to almost ruin their season.”
Posner was still lamenting the loss to Hill last week.
“That was our game,” he said. “We were up with 49 seconds left. I think I have to give credit to our kids. We play every other day literally. We were on a bus up until 2 this morning, we got a quick nap and then went out to get out.
“Now we play Lawrenceville tomorrow (today) at 10 a.m. Our kids never complain; they want to play. We don’t doge anybody; we try to play any team that will play us.”
Look for Culver to remain a national power.
“We’re young, we have 15 year old kids,” said Posner. “Everybody says our guys are 18 year old freshmen. We had three 15-year-olds play today and our goalie is a sophomore. I am pretty proud of our guys.”