By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/22/19
You might have thought that Malvern Prep senior Matthew Civitella was upset or angry when he saw Haverford School’s Mac Costin send Tuesday night’s Inter-Ac League championship game into overtime on a goal with only one second left in regulation.
“I thought, ‘Sweet, I get to play more lacrosse, I get 4 more minutes at least.'” he said. ‘I got two overtimes! I got more time to play for Malvern; I couldn’t ask for any more.”
In fact, Civitella, got even more than he asked for.
Civitella went three-quarters of the field, juking and spinning his way, before delivering his Friars their second straight Inter-Ac championship, scoring with 26.4 seconds left in the second overtime for a 9-8 victory at Cabrini University.
The win was the 11th straight for Malvern Prep (16-5, ranked No. 2 by Phillylacrosse.com) since a 5-4 defeat to Haverford School (17-5, No. 1) in the regular season.
With just under 40 seconds left in the second OT, Civitella received a pass in his end, beat a triple team over midfield and raced in for a fast break. He cut to the goal and with three defenders converging, beat Sage Garito (10 saves) high.
“I saw the guy in front of me and I kind of just rolled and ran past him,” said Civitella, describing the start of his run down field through the triple team.
“I knew there was a short amount of time on the clock, so I had to get a shot or fast break or something. I kind of ran through one guy, saw the goalie and threw it high and hoped for the best.
“As soon as I got to the restraining line I knew I had to dish off or go to the goal. I guess I chose go to the goal…”
“It’s unbelievable,” said Civitella, who is headed to Richmond. “It couldn’t be more surreal. I did it for the team. It’s the greatest group of guys you’ll ever meet. They deserved it.”
(The game video can be seen at www.SFBN.LIVE under “Videos.”)
The Friars, after falling behind, 2-0, led most of the game and took an 8-6 advantage when Colin McGill scored his fourth of the game with 4:55 to play.
But the Fords got within 8-7 when Peter Garno tallied his fifth of the game with 2:15 to play. Hasverford gained possession for the final minute and after calling time with 6.3 seconds to play, Costin (two goals) came from behind the cage and beat Will Pettit (13 saves) to send it into OT.
But in overtime, Pettit made several key stops and, with a strong defense, kept the potent Fords from winning until Civitella produced his magic – spoiling the last game for Haverford under 28-year coach John Nostrant (see full story on Nostrant).
“The only way I can describe it is ‘proud.'” said Pettit, headed to North Carolina. “This team was doubted. The seniors last year were wondering how good we would be this year.
“We took it personally. We wanted to be better and I think we constantly worked harder, knowing we had that chip on our shoulder. We kind of went into it with the mentality to prove everyone wrong.”
Malvern lost several key returnees to injury early in the year and depended on many underclassmen. It was a team without many big names, but depth and balance was key.
“In all honesty, it was a team effort,” said Pettit. “It took every single guy on the field and every single guy on the bench to do this. If they all weren’t here, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Nick Potemski and Eric Spanos each had a goal and an assist and Evan Lotz scored once for the Friars. Will peden had four assists, while Pettit and the Malvern defense often stymied the Fords’ dangerous attack.
“To be honest, I wasn’t nervous the whole game. No matter what, I knew it was my last game at Malvern and I really wanted to go out on top. Right from the start I was seeing the ball and moving well to it.
“It’s a credit to my defense. They played outstanding and forced a lot of bad shots. They forced them outside and didn’t let them get into a rhythm. It all goes to them.”
Inter-Ac League championship
Malvern Prep 9, Haverford School 8, 2OT
Malvern Prep 2-3-2-1-0-1-9
Haverford School 2-2-1-3-0-0- 8
Nick Potemski 1g, 1a
Eric Spanos 1g, 1a
Evan Lotz 1g
Matthew Civitella 2g (GW with 26.4 seconds left in 2OT)
Colin McGill 4g
Will Peden 4a
Will Pettit 13 saves
Peter Garno 5g
Mac Costin 2g (tying goal with 1 second left in regulation)
Adam Salvaggio 1g
Pearse Glavin 3a
Sage Garito 10 saves
Inter-Ac League champions since 2001
2001 – Haverford School
2002 – Haverford School, Malvern Prep
2003 – Malvern Prep
2004 – Haverford School, Malvern Prep
2005 – Haverford School, Malvern Prep
2006 – Haverford School
2007 – Haverford School, Malvern Prep
2008 – Malvern Prep
2009 – Haverford School, Malvern Prep
2010 – Haverford School, Malvern Prep
2011 – Haverford School
2012 – Haverford School
2013 – Malvern Prep
2014 – Malvern Prep
2015 – Haverford School
2016 – Haverford School
2017 – Haverford School
2018 – Malvern Prep 17, Haverford School 13
2019 – Malvern Prep 9, Haverford School 8, 2 OT