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Haverford School downs Springside CHA, 11-5, to claim 3rd straight outright Inter-Ac championship

Saturday, 13th May 2017

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Posted 5/13/17
Staff Report

It was not surprising that the Inter-Ac League championship would come down to one last game in pouring rain.

That’s because nothing came easy this year for the Haverford School lacrosse team.

The Fords won their third straight outright crown today with an 11-5 win over host Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Clearly, this title was nothing like the past two years.

In 2015 the Fords went 26-0 – and 10-0 in the Inter-Ac – to win not only the league crown but also the mythical national championship. Last year Haverford again went 10-0 to coast to the Inter-Ac title.

This year Haverford – despite heavy graduation – started strong before dropping games to Penn Charter and Episcopal Academy. But the Fords finished with four victories and then gained the outright crown at 8-2 with the help of an Episcopal Academy (7-3) 8-7 win over Malvern Prep (7-3) on Friday.

Haverford School also gained the top seed for the Inter-Ac in the Inter-Ac Invitational, which opens Monday.

“This is pretty awesome; we showed a lot of resilience and we got lucky break when Malvern lost Friday,” said junior attackman TJ Malone, who led the offense with four goals and three assists. “We would have tied for the title; now it’s outright.

“We came out today with a lot of energy because we knew if we’d win we would take the whole thing. We’d have bragging rights and wouldn’t have to share the title.”

Haverford bolted to a 4-1 lead before Springside CHA (9-1, 3-7) pulled within 4-3 before the half, much with the strong play of sophomore goalie Bern Popky (11 saves).

But the Fords erupted in the third period. First, Malone fed Johnny Nostrant (two goals, one assist) and then he found Luke O’Grady (two goals) for a 6-3 lead.

Then Nostrant scored off a Peter Garno feed and Malone used a spin dodge to make it 8-3 before Scott Deck found O’Grady for a 9-3 lead before the end of the third period.

Haverford’s defense was led by Ryan Niggeman, who had five groundballs and two takeaways.

“The seniors have done a great job this year in keeping the team acting like a unit and really getting our energy up,” said Niggeman. “We have a lot of camaraderie and they (seniors) kept us together.

“Our defense has confidence in each each other’s play and knowing how to react to our teammates. We had to keep the energy up and keep making stops on defense.”

Niggeman said winning a championship at Haverford is “a very big accomplishment and an honor to be part of. It’s an honor playing for the coaches and being with these teammates.”

Malone said the Fords picked up the pace in the second half.

“We had a ton of energy in the beginning, but they were hanging with us and we weren’t moving the ball as well as we usually do,” he said. “In the second half came out with fire and embraced the rain. We started flying around and the defense only allowed two points. We played well as a unit.”

Now the Fords gear for the Inter-Ac Invitational. They have a bye Monday and face the winner of Hun School (NJ) and Germantown Academy on Wednesday at the Conshohocken Proving Grounds.

“It’s going to be awesome; in the playoffs it’s either win or go home,” said Malone. “We will give it our best effort. For our seniors it’s their last chance to play together so we’ll play our best and see what happens.”

Haverford School 11, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 5
Haverford School 2-2-5-2- 11
SCHA 0-3-0-2- 5

Johnny Nostrant 2g, 1a
TJ Malone 4g, 3a
Luke O’Grady 2g
Peter Garno 1g, 1a
Scott Deck 1a
Pearse Glavin 1g
Joel Trucksess 1g

Zach Messerle 1g
Jack Lamb 2a
MacMalaughlin 3g
Malcolm Glendinning 1g
Bern Popky 11 saves

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