The Haverford College men’s lacrosse team advanced to the Centennial Conference tournament final for the first time ever today when it defeated visiting McDaniel College, 9-8, at Swan Field.
The Black Squirrels (13-2) advance to Sunday’s Centennial Conference title game at Haverford (1 p.m.) against Gettysburg, a 9-8 winner over Washington College. The winner of the title game gets an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III tournament.
A goal by Max Hjelm (Conestoga), his 44th. gave Haverford a 9-6 lead in the fourth quarter. But long-stick midfielder Grant Firestone’s tally with 0.8 seconds left on the clock at the end of the first quarter might end up being the most important goal of the season for the Fords so far.
Haverford held a 2-1 lead as the quarter ticked down towards zero and with the entire bench and coaching staff screaming for a shot, Firestone’s long-stick cradled the ball in it’s netting as the junior spun away from a defender and he got off a shot from five yards out and to the goalie’s left that found the back of the net stirring an eruption from the bench and much of the crowd that numbered nearly 400 in size.
Just his first goal of the season, Firestone’s score made it 3-1 and continued the momentum the Fords had been building since McDaniel had opened the game’s scoring.
Trailing 1-0 on a Matthew Daley goal for the Green Terror, Haverford’s Matt Turnier began a 16-second sequence that gave the Fords their first lead, and one they wouldn’t relinquish the remainder of the game.
At the 10:05 mark of the opening quarter, Turnier notched an unassisted goal – his second score of the season – to tie the score. Sixteen seconds later Brian Fleishhacker took a feed from Firestone and put the Fords up 2-1 with his 27th of the year.
Heading into the half, the Fords led 5-3 but McDaniel would creep within one during the first four minutes of the third quarter on a Gibbs Preston score.
The teams traded goals, Phillip Valliant scoring for the Fords and Evan Young for McDaniel, through the midpoint of the third quarter. Jason Leeds’ score with five minutes left in the stanza pushed Haverford’s lead back to two and the teams headed into the final quarter with the Fords ahead 7-5.
cDaniel caused a few tense moments in the closing minutes after Hjelms score, though, as DJ Rickels pulled the Green Terror within one scoring at 5:28 to go and then adding a man-up score with 4:23 to play.
Haverford goalie Joe Banno had come up big all afternoon and thwarted the comeback attempt with a save near the two-minute mark. Banno earned the win making nine saves while his counterpart, Kenny McHugh, took the loss for McDaniel registering 10 saves in the Green Terror’s final game of the season.
Andrew Kim had a goal and two assists for Haverford and Peter Hannapel won 7 of 12 face-offs.
Haverford, who qualified for their first-ever NCAA tournament last season with an at-large bid, now stands on the precipice of winning their first Centennial postseason tournament and first automatic bid into the national tournament.
Gettysburg 9, Washington College 8
Tom O’Donnell (La Salle) had a goal and an assist as the Bullets (12-3) advanced to the MAC finals to meet Haverford College. Thayer Damm (La Salle) had a goal and won 11 of 20 face-offs for the Shoremen (9-7).
Notre Dame 7, Quinnipiac 4
Duncan Swezey (Hatboro-Horsham) scored a goal and had two assists as the Fighting Irish (14-0) advanced into the Great Western Lacrosse League finals. The top-seeded Irish will face No. 2 seeded Ohio State Sunday at noon. Jack Oppenheimer (Germantown Academy) had a goal for the Bobcats (4-9).
Ohio State 10, Air Force 5
James Green (Central Bucks East) had a goal and an assist as the Buckeyes (8-7) advanced to the GWLL finals to meet No. 1 Notre Dame.
Manhattan 5, Mt. St. Mary’s
Christian Kellett (Malvern Prep) had a goal and an assist for the losing Mountaineers (5-10) in the MAAC semifinals.
Penn State 11, Ohio State 7
Stephanie Ellis (Radnor) made 10 saves and Mariel Bryan (Ridley) had a goal as the Nittany Lions advanced to the ALC championship game. Penn State will vie for the conference crown with four-time defending national champion, No. 1-ranked, and undefeated Northwestern (18-0) on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The Wildcats defeated Vanderbilt, 15-10, earlier in the day to advance to their third-straight ALC finals.
Kelly Haggerty (Unionville) had two goals and one assist for Ohio State (11-6).
Tags: Haverford College