By Tom Peace
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/28/15
BALTIMORE- Episcopal Academy senior attackman Curtis Zappala said his team was able to take many positives away from tonight’s 10-8 loss to powerful McDonogh School (MD) in the nightcap of the PNC Lacrosse Invitational at Loyola University’s Ridley Complex.
“Today we made a name for ourselves going against a great team like McDonogh,” said Zappala. “We lost against this great team, but we got to play in this venue and be recognized as one of the top teams in the country.”
The Churchmen have been one of the top stories around the national scene in the early going. Last year EA was 8-13, but this year the Churchmen opened with a win over top-ranked Culver Military Academy and at 3-0 entered the game as the No. 5 team in the Epoch Lacrosse Rankings.
Still, EA faced the role as a considerable underdog to a McDonogh team that was ranked No. 4 and had lost only to Haverford School in overtime and recently had looked positively scary in wins over Gonzaga (13-11) and Culver (13-5).
The Eagles scored the first two goals tonight, but EA fought back and seized a 6-5 lead with 4:38 left in the third period on Eric Haab’s third goal. But the Eagles (5-1) scored the next four goals in a span of 4:03, the last two tallied coming from Clark.
Robby Black, who had three goals, tallied the go-ahead score with 1:21 left in the third quarter.
Blake Gray added two goals for McDonogh and Jacob Stover (seven saves) was a standout in goal.
Zappala added two goals and two assists for EA and Connor Ringwalt had two goals and an assist. Christian Feliziani was brilliant at the face-off X by winning 15 of 21 draws and Colin Reder was strong in the goal with eight saves.
“We came out pretty slowly and had the jitters off the bus,” said Zappala. “It was a tight game and then we fell asleep for about four minutes and when you fall a sleep against an excellent team like like McDonogh they are going to make you pay.”
Zappala said it seemed like Stover “made 15 saves.”
“Stover’s incredible; he is a great goalie,” said Zappala. “He is the type of goalie that makes you shoot at him. He takes up that much of the next; it’s hard to shoot around him. If we get the ball moving and get him moving, we could beat hi, but from outside he is lights out.”
EA coach Andy Hayes was pleased with his team’s performance.
“Our effort was there,” he said. “I feel like we are in great shape to get back to Philadelphia and get ready for our conference (Inter-Ac League), which is outrageous as well. We are excited. The kids played hard and we just need to clean up a few things and we’ll be in great shape.
“I think our attack group has a chance to be very special. We took another step forward. It stinks to lose but if we are going to lose to McDonogh and play hard like that I can deal with it.
“It’s a big step for our program. I think when people think of the Inter-Ac they think of Haverford and Malvern. We have beaten those teams in the past and I’m really happy for our kids and our program. It was a big step to come down here and play with McDonogh and watch St. Paul’s and Georgetown Prep – they were big-time teams here and we want to be included in that conversation.”
McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said he was impressed with Episcopal Academy: “It’s a special night and a special opportunity for our guys to participate in something like this. We knew Episcopal would be really good in a bunch of different areas – facing off, and at goalie and (the fact) they had some really nice offensive firepower. They were as advertised and we just struggled early on.
“We were not doing some thing fundamental things to our success like clearing and getting groundballs and just playing hard. But in the second half we picked up that and once we had the ball and get some possessions I knew in time we were going to get good looks. Stover made some huge saves in the second half that bailed us out, quite frankly, a couple times. Defensively, we weren’t playing good fundamental ball or smart lacrosse. A lot of that you give credit to Episcopal Academy.”
McDonogh School 2 2 4 2 -10
Episcopal Ac. 1 2 3 2 -8
McDonogh SCORING: GOALS: Robby Black 3; Robert Clark 2; Blake Gray 2; Jackson Morrill 1; Connor Young 1; Arman Medghalchi 1.
ASSISTS: Robert Clark 2; B.J. Farrare 1; Jackson Morrill 1; Barrett Sutley 1.
Jacob Stover 48:00 8 allowed 7 saved
Episcopal SCORING: GOALS: Eric Haab 3; Curtis Zappala 2; Connor Ringwalt 2; Christopher Friedman 1.
ASSISTS: Curtis Zappala 2; Christopher Friedman 1; Jake Martellucci 1; Connor Ringwalt 1.
Colin Reder 48:00 10 allowed 8 saved
Tags: Episcopal Academy