By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/20/18
Depending on who you ask, the Inter-Ac League’s decision to play each other just once in the regular for seeding in a postseason tournament is either really good or less than ideal.
Count Haverford School’s TJ Malone among those who like it.
“I like it because we get to play other teams from around the country (in nonleague games), and it’s always fun playing other guys, so I like it,” said Malone.
The Inter-Ac had always crowned its league champion through regular season games; teams met each other twice. Now, the league’s fierce rivals may play just once unless they meet in the championship tourney.
If it was Malone’s last time against bitter rival Malvern Prep on attack, the Friars will be glad to see him go. The Amherst commit bagged five goals and set up a Luke O’Grady goal to lead the charge in a 12-9 win over the host Friars.
“It’s always after you get a couple goals that you start feeling it, and that’s happened,” Malone said. “We work really well as a team, and some days, you feel it and you’ve got keep getting the ball.
“Other days, your teammates are feeling it. That’s just how a team works. There’s been days where I haven’t felt it and people like Luke O’Grady and Scott Deck have picked it up for me. I have the best teammates in the world and it’s just fun to play with them day in and day out.’
Haverford (10-3, 2-0 Inter-Ac) held a slim 4-3 lead at halftime before Chris Tsetsekos started dominating the faceoff X. Tsetsekos was 5-for-9 in the first half before turning in a superb 14-for-17 effort in the second half, highlighted by a 7-for-8 third quarter where the Fords outscored the Friars (5-4, 0-2) 5-2 to crack the game open.
Tsetsekos even managed to put the finishing touches on the win when he won the game’s penultimate faceoff and ripped a shot five-hole for his first goal as a Ford with 40.8 seconds to go in the game. The sophomore Conestoga transfer has entrenched himself as Haverford’s go-to guy at the X, and the position is in good hands for two more years after this.
“I don’t even remember the goal. I just shot it as hard as I could,” Tsetsekos said. “I saw that my attackmen just cleared out of the way and I shot it. I scored, and everybody was really happy for me. It felt great, especially our rival, Malvern.”
Scottie White paced the Friars by matching Malone’s five-goal, one-assist performance and Quinn McCahon paired two goals with two assists, but Malvern was able to hang on until the end because of the strong play of Will Pettit.
The first-year starter, a North Carolina verbal commitment, was stout in the Friars’ cage, denying 12 shots. He made some timely saves when it looked like Haverford might run away with it, and Pettit is making the most of his time after spending his first two seasons as a backup.
“I definitely learned a lot (from being a backup) in the clearing game and in the mental game, and just knowing when it’s time to bog down and make a save, especially when the other team’s going on a run,” Pettit said. “I can kind of also relate to the guys on the bench right now because I know what it’s like to sit on the bench and not play, and (being a backup) also ticked me off and gave me a little motivation to come out here and just kill it this year.”
Contrary to Malone, though, he’s not a fan of only playing everyone once, although his opinion may have been influenced by Friday’s result.
“It’s really annoying, because you want to see them again, especially when you get that sour taste in your mouth,” Pettit said. “It’s even worse when you don’t know if you’re going to see them again.”
If history is any indicator, Pettit and the Friars will get another crack at the Fords. Round One, though, went to the defending league champions.
Haverford School 12, Malvern Prep 9
MP 2 1 2 4 — 9
HS 4 0 5 3 — 12
Haverford (10-3, 2-0)
TJ Malone 5g, 1a
Adam Salvaggio 1g
Scott Deck 2g
Luke O’Grady 2g
Chris Tsetsekos 1g, 19-for-26 faceoffs
Payton Hollway 1g
Gavin Burke 1a
Pearse Glavin 1a
Harrison Fellheimer 8 saves
Malvern (5-4, 0-2)
Scottie White 5g, 1a
Quinn McCahon 2g, 2a
Jack Traynor 1g, 1a
Seamus Glynn 1g
Luke DiGiacobbe 1a
Will Pettit 12 saves