By Charles Kruzits
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/24/12
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Haverford School started slowly and despite a late comeback attempt saw its 30-game win streak end Friday night in a 5-4 loss to Landon School (Md.) in the LacrossePlayground.com Spring Classic here at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The loss was the first for the Fords (3-1) since an early May defeat to Malvern Prep in 2010. Haverford School, last year’s consensus national champion, had entered the day ranked among the top five teams in every national poll.
But on this evening, before a crowd of several thousand, the Fords’ offense was stifled by a staunch defense and senior goalkeeper Alex Joyce.
Joyce, who will attend Georgetown in the fall, justified the fact that he’s considered one of the nation’s best as he stopped 14 shots and continually frustrated the dangerous Haverford attack.
“I thought we were going to get whipped to be honest with you,” Joyce said.
“I was looking forward to this game though, they have so many talented players, I know most of them very well. I just owe a lot of credit to the offense for coming through in big situations when we needed them to and to my defense that really shut down their playmakers.”
The Fords came into the contest without three key players. Starting goalie Jake Landman sat out due to an injured shoulder, defenseman Warner Bailey remains out with a knee injury and midfielder Peter Blynn is nursing an ankle injury that will keep him out for up to a month.
Will McNamara, a prized-Virginia recruit, was held mostly in check by the Bears’ defense much of the night. Landon made sure to mark the two-way player every time he touched the ball or anytime he was near the ball for that matter.
Haverford School senior long pole Paxton Moore was disappointed in his team’s mental approach.
“It’s like we felt we couldn’t lose and all we had to do was just show up,” Moore said. “We have to use this as motivation for the rest of the season. We’re angry and were going to do our best to finish the season 20-0.”
Despite the numerous Division I recruits on both sides, the scoring was kept to a minimum as the teams combined for only three goals in the first half. The Bears seized a 5-1 lead early in the fourth quarter thanks to goals from Garrett Fellows, Taylor Valenica, Rob Dunigan, Hank Brown, and Matt Potolicchio.
The Fords rallied late as they scored three goals in a 4:52 span late in the fourth quarter setting up a dramatic finish.
Haverford was down one with 23 seconds left and after Will Gural won the faceoff, Haverford had a chance to tie it. However, the Fords turned the ball over and the clock expired as the Bears stormed the field to celebrate the unthinkable.
Harry Alford, a former three year starting keeper for Maryland, is the editor-in-chief of LacrossePlayground.com and was happy with the turnout and play from the two dynamic teams.
“This is epitome of the Spring Classic,” Alford said. “We predicted a dog-fight and we got a huge upset. This game legitimizes the quality that we can bring to the sport. Everyone should want to play on the biggest stage against the best teams and we can do that.”
The tourney continues today with five games beginning at noon – including a 6 p.m. game between Germantown Academy and Bullis School.
Landon 5, Haverford 4
Landon 1 1 2 1—5
Haverford 0 1 0 3—4
LA: Garrett Fellows 1G, Matt Potolicchio 1G, Taylor Valencia 1G, Hank Brown 1G, and Rob Dunigan 1G.
HV: Will McNamara 1G, 2A; Sam Rohr 1G; Zach Rego 1G; and Reilly Hupfeldt 1G.
Saves: Alex Joyce (LA) 14, Miller (HV) 4.