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EPSLA semifinals: Malvern Prep uses strong second half to advance

Saturday, 31st May 2008

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  

By Ben Skalina, Posted 5/31/08

At the time of year when the opponents are supposed to be the best, Malvern Prep just keeps making them look inferior.

The Friars exploded for 10 goals in the second half on Friday night at Garnet Valley against Penn Charter to advance to the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) finals in stylish fashion, 14-7.

The top-seeded Friars (21-2) will face La Salle in the last EPSLA title game Tuesday (7:30) at Garnet Valley.

Penn Charter (16-12) kept it close in the first half Friday by taking deliberate possessions and trailed just, 4-2, after the first two quarters thanks to two Colin Still goals.

“We were trying to possess the ball and stick it when we got opportunities,” PC coach Patrick McDonough said of his 12th-seeded Quakers. “It was working there for a little.”
After the intermission, however, Malvern took over.

“We were tight in the first half,” Malvern coach John McEvoy said. “We looked like we were pressing a little bit offensively, and then in the second half, we said, ‘Let’s just get in our comfort zone and go and have fun.’”

That they did.

Ryan Creighton (two goals, one assist) took a Steve Layne assist on Malvern’s first possession and blasted the ball past Penn Charter goalie Dan Carr (nine saves) to trigger Malvern’s run, and three minutes later Bobby Hill had a rip of his own to make the Friar lead 6-2.

“He’s a real consistent kid,” McEvoy said of Creighton. “He plays defense, he plays offense, he gets ground balls; he does it all really well.

Just 24 seconds after Hill’s goal, Matt Conte dodged down the left side and placed the ball past the Penn Charter goalie for a 7-2 advantage. Conor Steidle (four goals) followed Conte with a goal on a roll dodge for a decisive 8-2 margin.

“Whenever they shut off I decided to go one-on-one because they didn’t have any slides coming,” Steidle said of his offensive strategy.

Joey Sankey (one goal, two assists) and Eddie Bambino (two goals) brought Charter back to 8-4 with consecutive marks in the late stages of the third quarter, but the Friars saved their best for the last quarter.

Malvern unloaded an amazing 16 shots in the final frame as they looked to punch their ticket to the final.

Matt Mackrides found the back of the net three times in the quarter, Steidle came up with two of his own and Chris Layne added a swim dodge and goal that echoed of Johns Hopkins star Paul Rabil to put the exclamation on the Friars’ victory.

“We really needed to play a flawless game in terms of turnovers, and when we had opportunities, you’ve got to cash them in, and we didn’t,” McDonough said. “You give a team like that another 10 or 12 possessions, and its six extra goals.”



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