Click here for a replay of the game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=001qjcCI5YY
By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/22/17
When Culver Academy (IN) held a preseason meeting to discuss its goals for the 2017 season, the Eagles shot for the moon.
That’s reasonable for a team that has emerged as a perennial top-5 team in the nation, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
“One of our goals this year was redemption wins,” attackman Austin Madronic said. “That’s something that we had on our goal sheet this year. Another one was that we wanted to win the Inter-Ac (Invitational). We were able to check off all of our goals that we set at the beginning of the season and not too many teams in the country can say that.”
Backed by four goals and two assists from Madronic and 13 saves from Matt Schmidt, Culver accomplished that last goal by beating host Haverford School, 9-5, in Sunday night’s championship game. It marked the second year that the Eagles (21-1, No. 2 in the C2C North America Rankings) downed the Fords for the tournament title after an 8-7 win a season ago.
“It was a great way to end the year,” said Audi Devon Player of the Game Schmidt, who tossed aside seven shots in the final frame. “It’s always a little tense toward the end of the game, especially when you start to see more shots, but it was really nice to get some saves. That helped us win the game, just being able to calm down and relax when time is ticking down.
“This is what we were gunning for all year. As soon as we had that loss, we said, ‘we’re going to see these guys again in the Inter-Ac championship. That’s the one team we get to play again, so being able to actually come back, play on this field and get a win at their home is phenomenal.”
Haverford (16-7, No. 2 in the Phillylacrosse.com Rankings and 18th in the C2C Rankings) tagged the Eagles with their lone loss of the season with a double-overtime win in March. That helped turn the Fords’ fortunes after they started 0-2 with a blowout loss to McDonogh and an overtime loss to St. Paul’s. Sunday, though, Haverford didn’t quite have the same magic. The Fords struggled to hang on to the ball in the first half and those missed opportunities loomed large down the stretch.
Luke O’Grady led the Fords with two goals and an assist, Johnny Nostrant capped his career with a goal and an assist and Joel Trucksess ended his with an assist to go along with a 12-for-18 day at the faceoff X. Despite that, the Culver defense, led by the Duff brothers, Kelan and Liam, limited the normally explosive Fords offense to two goals below their previous season low.
Despite the loss, the season was a success for the Fords. They surprised many by winning their third straight outright Inter-Ac title despite having to replace a who’s who of stars in their 2016 class. They were expected to take a backseat to others, but instead, once again rose to the top of one of the best leagues in the country.
“No one really believed in us from the start, except for our coaches and our seniors,” O’Grady said. “The seniors really, really kept us in it this year and we knew we could make it here. We knew we had a deep team when no one did, but if it weren’t for the seniors, we wouldn’t have. Every single day, they said, ‘We can do this. We’ll be there,’ and we made it here and it’s all due to them.”
“I wasn’t sure in the beginning of the year that we would even be in this game,” Haverford coach John Nostrant said. “It’s never good enough to just get there, but this group, I think accomplished a ton. Going into the season, losing all the talent that we lost the last two years, t
he seniors and the younger guys stepped up and continued to carry the torch for Haverford School.”
Ultimately, though, Culver simply had too much talent. Cam Chauvette set up Madronic twice and Jake Stevens once in a 3-0 run that took less than five minutes to break the Fords’ backs. Wheaton Jackoboice snapped a hat trick for the Eagles.
And for the second straight year, Culver Academy stood tall over the rest of the Inter-Ac field.
Culver Academy 3 1 3 2 – 9
Austin Madronic 4g, 2a
Wheaton Jackoboice 3g
Jackson Reid 1g, 1a
Jake Stevens 1g
Cam Chauvette 3a
Matt Schmidt 13 saves
Haverford School 1 1 2 1 – 5
Luke O’Grady 2g, 1a
Johnny Nostrant 1g, 1a
Adam Salvaggio 1g
Scott Deck 1g
Joel Trucksess 1a, 12-for-18 faceoffs
Pearse Glavin 1a
Peter Garno 1a
Parker Henderer 5 saves