By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/23/13
Probably few people could have foreseen the idea of Haverford School celebrating with the Inter-Ac Invitational championship trophy in their hands after they struggled through an 0-3 start to the season in March.
But fast-forward to Wednesday night’s 13-11 victory over Malvern Prep at Cabrini College in the title game before an overflow crowd and you’ll find a youthful team that pulled off one of the biggest turnarounds in years.
With a collection of several key seniors and a host of freshmen and sophomores playing key roles, the Fords withstood a powerful Malvern Prep team to claim their fourth Inter-Ac championship in five years.
Sophomore Grant Ament earned the YDH Audi/Volkswagen Star of the Game with three goals, two assists and four groundballs. But there were so many other standouts for Haverford, which closed the season by taking six of its final seven games and downing a Friars (16-2) eam that won the Inter-Ac League title and was ranked No. 5 by Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse and No. 6 by TopLaxRecruits.com.
“Our improvement is incredible,” said Fords senior attackman Reilly Hupfeldt. “Even in the just the last three weeks we have gotten so much better. We had to give the young players some time to learn the system, and once we saw what we could do the past couple weeks we knew we could win.
Hupfeldt and senior Timmy Brooks each scored three goals while junior Jeff Odiorne added a pair and senior Gavin McBride had a goal and three assists. Sophomore Drew Supinski had a goal and an assist and junior Peter Blynn dished three assists. Freshman Alex DeMarco was a standout in goal with 12 saves and sophomore face-off specialist Colin Bosak held his own against Malvern face-off standout and Monday Star of the Game Charles Kelly.
Brooks recorded the game-winner with 3:50 to play, snapping an 11-11 tie. But Supinski had perhaps the game’s biggest play when he caused a turnover with a brilliant strip and grabbed the groundball with less than a minute left when Malvern was setting up in the offensive zone.
Seconds later, Ament split a double team behind the goal that included Malvern Prep goalie Matt Barrett (17 saves) and stuff in the icing on the cake into the empty net.
“We knew we had it in us,” said Ament. “On our door in the locker room it says , ‘Family.’ We play together. There are almost 50 guys on this team and not one of them is any more important than any other one.
“It’s almost an indescribable feeling,” he added. “I give all the credit to the seniors and for me, my linemates Gavin McBride and Reilly Hupfeldt. They taught me everything and they have been so instrumental to my growth.”
Haverford school coach John Nostrant, whose team two years ago went undefeated and last year dropped only two games, admitted the team had its ups and downs in the early going while trying to integrate so many young players.
“We started 0-3 and I told them to remember the journey,” said Nostrant. “It was a total team effort. We had a lot of Division I players sitting on the bench, but the kids know you are not going to be successful unless your put the team first – and we did that.”
This was a classic Inter-Ac battle that featured four lead changes. Malvern Prep led, 4-3, after one period, but the Fords surged ahead, 6-4, at intermission when Brooks scored with 37.5 seconds left in the half.
The Friars responded quickly in the third quarter as Conor Glancy (two goals, one assist) scored 14 seconds into the frame and Eddie McLoughlin (three goals) followed with another just 52 seconds later.
The game stayed close and Hupfeldt later gave his team a 10-9 edge with 9:09 to play, but Tommy O’Connor (two goals) tied it 3;05 later. McBride put Haverford School in front again with 5:41 to play, ut O’Connor tied it again just 15 seconds later off a Chris Hilburn feed.
Despite the loss, Malvern Prep coach John McEvoy was hapoy with his team’s performance and thrilled with the season. He also praised Haverford School.
“They (the Fords) have matured quite a bit and they earned it,” said McEvoy. “Give them the credit.”
“We kind of regrouped in the second half,” he said. “I told them we didn’t want to have any could-haves or should-haves and that we wanted to leave knowing we had only memorable moments. And even though we didn’t win I think we did that.”
Haverford School 13, Malvern Prep 11
Haverford School – 2-4-2-5- 13
Malvern Prep 3-1-5-2 – 11
Timmy Brooks 3g
Grant Ament 3g, 2a, 4 GB
Jeff Odiorne 2g
Drew Supinski 1g, 1a
Reilly Hupfeldt 3g
Gavin McBride 1g, 3a
Peter Blynn 3a
Alex DeMarco 12 saves
Tommy O’Connor 2g
Joe Dunn 1g
Eddie McLoughlin 3g
Conor Glancy 2g, 1a
Joe Carlini 2a
Kevin McGeary 1g, 1a
Drew Schantz 1g
Chris Hilburn 1g, 1a
Matt Barrett 17 saves
Charles Kelly 15 of 27 FO