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Malone leads @Fords_Lacrosse past No. 3 Malvern Prep in @InterAcBoysLax opener

Saturday, 8th April 2017

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  

By Matt Chandik, Posted 4/8/17

Depending on the way you look at it, TJ Malone either had the fortune or the misfortune of coming into high school at The Haverford School when he did.

Haverford School’s Conner Mosebrook (left) and TJ Malone celebrate a goal in Friday’s win (Photo by Matt Chandik)

During his freshman and sophomore years, the Fords went 46-5, including a perfect 26-0 season during his freshman season. Haverford pumped out double-digit All-Americans in that time, which highlighted a stacked roster that relegated Malone to JV duty. That’s the unfortunate part. The fortunate part, though, is that you tend to learn a thing or two from players like that, and it tends to pay off down the road.

Friday afternoon, Malone showed off what he learned in the best game of his career. The junior attackman was unstoppable, scoring five times and setting up an Adam Salvaggio tally as the Fords defeated rival Malvern Prep, 15-11, in the Inter-Ac opener for both teams.

“Playing two years of JV, I was waiting for my chance and when I got the chance to make a difference at the varsity level, I took it and went as hard as I could,” Malone said. “Nothing comes easy, so it’s so sweet when you get your turn and you’ve been waiting and working so hard every single year.

“You wonder when you’re going to get your chance and you know it’s not going to be for a while because of all the stars, but once you finally get it, you’ve got to take it in and do the most you can.”

Safe to say Malone is doing just that. His career day came all of three days after his last career-best when he netted three goals and an assist in a 12-11 win over MIAA power Boys’ Latin. Against the Friars, he was one of seven Haverford goal scorers in the first half, but in the second, he caught fire. Malone routinely abused defenders from X, using his quickness and elusiveness to get wherever he wanted.

TJ Malone

“When I was younger, I didn’t always move my feet and it got me in trouble,” Malone said. “(Friday), I kept moving my feet, not letting them get set and I kept going at them full speed, so they had to back pedal. When they’re back pedaling, they’re not as fast, so I used my body to get in and out and didn’t back down against bigger guys.”

The Friars (5-2, 0-1) opened the season as the Inter-Ac favorites thanks to loaded junior and senior classes and they looked the part when they raced out to five straight wins. By contrast, Haverford (3-2, 1-0) faced uncertainty with the likes of Dox Aitken and Forry Smith off to college.

Friday, though, it was the Fords who looked the part of a top-5 team in the country. Malone, Salvaggio, Peter Garno, Luke O’Grady, Ryan Jacob, Chris Hervada, Joel Trucksess and Connor Mosebrook all scored at least once and Trucksess won the faceoff battle against the Friars’ Sean Christman, 16-14. Haverford did all of that without the services of top scorer Johnny Nostrant, who’s battling an injury that will likely sideline him for a few more weeks.

The faces have changed, but somehow, Haverford keeps finding a way to win. Early losses to McDonogh and St. Paul’s are a distant memory after beating three excellent teams in Culver Academy (Ind.), Boys’ Latin and Malvern.

“Since Culver, we’ve sort of been on a hot streak and sort of found ourselves and we’ve been playing really good lacrosse,” said Garno, who tallied twice and set up two more goals. “Last year, you could kind of predict who was going to score the majority of the goals. This year, people have stepped up when they’ve needed to and the scoring is very diverse.”

Peter Garno

That’s part of what makes the Fords so tough. They’ve got a formidable array of weapons, as is the custom, but your guess is as good as anyone’s as to who’s going to step up in a particular game. They don’t need much time to get it done, either.

Trucksess got the scoring started 16 seconds in by making a great cut and snapping home a Garno pass. Malone, Mosebrook and Salvaggio struck in a matter of 1:57 in the second quarter, while six minutes of game time had barely elapsed by the time Haverford scored four goals late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.

Most importantly, though, Haverford out-toughed Malvern…by a healthy margin.

“They were tougher than us on ground balls,” Friars sophomore defenseman Donny Gayhardt said. “That’s the pride and joy of this program, tough ground balls, and they beat us to them. They beat us fair and square.

Donny Gayhardt

“We took some shots and we need to face adversity better. Coach Nostrant’s going to come out and coach them up every year. You can never sleep on them – ever – and they just beat you on little mistakes. They catch you sleeping and other schools that have that big star rely on him to do it for them and they don’t have all that off-ball cutting and they don’t make you work, but (the Fords) earn all their goals. Congrats to them – they deserve it.”

They did so in spades.

Malvern Prep (5-2, 0-1) 2 3 3 3 — 11
Jack Traynor 3g, 2a
Scottie White 3g
Quinn McCahon 2g
Mike Fay 2g
Sam Charlton 1g
Jordan Donaghy 2a
Billy Coyle 2a
Andrew Clark 10 saves

Haverford School (3-2, 1-0) 3 4 4 4 — 15
TJ Malone 5g, 1a
Peter Garno 2g, 2a
Luke O’Grady 2g, 1a
Ryan Jacob 2g
Chris Hervada 1g, 1a
Joel Trucksess 1g, 16 of 30 FO
Conner Mosebrook 1g
Adam Salvaggio 1g
Parker Henderer 8 saves

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