By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/13/12
The names and faces have changes somewhat and the style looked slightly different, but the result was the same: a dominant Haverford School team.
The host Fords, coming off a magical 23-0 season that ended with a national championship, opened their 2012 campaign today against a traditional rival from Baltmore’s powerful MIAA and looked positively impressive.
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Henry Blynn (committed to Brown) had four goals and an assist and Sam Rohr (Penn) scored three goals while Gavin McBride (Princeton) added two goals and three assists as Haverford used a fast-moving attack and routed St. Paul’s, 15-6.
The lopsided score was shocking to many who know this intense Philly-Baltimore rivalry that is made even more interesting since Haverford coach John Nostrant and Crusaders mentor Rick Brocato were teammates at Washington College and remain close friends.
The past four years, these teams have opened the season with tight games. Last year Haverford won, 10-9, and also 13-9 in 2010. The year before, St. Paul’s won, 13-12, in overtime.
But this time, despite a number of fresh faces playing key roles, the Fords looked like a squad prepared to hold its spot near the top of the national rankings.
Haverford – ranked No. 2 by ESPNHS’s POWERADE Fab 50 and No. 5 by under Armour/Inside Lacrosse – jumped to a 7-0 lead and never looked back with a the help of a strong passing game and solid defense. What’s more, the Fords did it with two key starters and a top young middie out with injuries.
Senior defenseman Warner Bailey (signed with Georgetown) is out 2-3 more weeks with a sprained MCL in his knee and junior goalie Jacob Landman was out with a minor injury. Also, sophomore middie Peter Blynn is out four to six weeks with a broken ankle.
But Haverford looked like itself, or even better than many had figured after losing a senior class for the ages. Junior goalie Tyler Miller made a big save early on and finished with four stops and the defense of Conor Bailey (Georgetown), Scott Warren and James Chakey along with long pole Paxton Moore (Michigan) contained the Crusader attack.
Senior Will Gural (Brown) dominated at the face-off X and won 13 of 19 draws while contributing to the fast break with a goal and an assist as the Fords flashed an attack that used passing and quick ball movement to its advantage.
“Coach Nostrant has been talking about how we need to find our identity as a team,” said Henry Blynn. “The main difference is that our offense moves the ball a lot faster. We’re really meshing as a team. We can’t wait to keep moving forward and proving people wrong.”
Blynn said the team held a meeting Sunday and came to the game prepared.
“We asked a lot of the younger guys,” he said. “Our seniors came together Sunday after our light practice and we said, ‘This is our year’ and we said, ‘We might be down our best defenseman and our starting goalie, but we have to have fun and keep the pressure off.’
“Lacrosse is meant to be fun. That showed today.”
Nostrant said his team looked poised despite the injuries. He praised the defense and the team’s ball movement.
“They (the Crusaders) are young and I knew they were young, but I knew we were hurt,” he said. “We had a lot of moving parts, but I thought moved the ball a little better than we did last year.”
Haverford School 15, St. Paul’s 6
Haverford School 6-4-3-2–15
St Paul’s 0-2-2-2–6
Reilly Hupfeldt 1g
Gavin McBride 2g, 3a
Henry Blynn 4g, 1a
Will McNamara 1g, 1a
Sam Rohr 3g
Zach Rego 2a
Kerry Kynett 1g, 1a
Drew Supinski 1g
Will Gural 1g, 1a, 13 of 19 FO
Timmy Brooks 1g
Jeff Odiorne 1a
Mike O’Mal;ley 2 of 2 FO
St Paul’s scoring
Spencer Parks 2 g, 1a
Henry Riehl 1g
Ben Brehne 1g, 1a
Greg Louzan 1g, 1a
B.J. Mattheiss 1 g
Austin Toland 1a
Tyler Miller (Haverford) 4
Elliot Avis (Haverford) 1
Will Rego (St Paul’s) 9
Hunter Pearl (St. Paul’s) 1