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Inter-Ac League semis: Mehl (7G) helps Haverford School down Episcopal Academy, 15-10

Tuesday, 17th May 2022

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  
 

By Matthew Ryan
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/17/22

After leading throughout the game, The Haverford School saw its once 9-5 advantage evaporate with four straight goals from Episcopal Academy late in the third period and early in the fourth.

But then Avi Mehl happened.

Mehl broke the tie with two consecutive goals and added one later in the fourth to give him seven overall, leading the Fords to a 15-10 victory today in the Inter-Ac League semifinals at Cabrini University.

Connor Nolen …2G

The second-seeded Fords (14-5) will face Malvern Prep – a 16-8 winner over Penn Charter – again in the Inter-Ac championship Friday at Cabrini at 7 p.m. Malvern has defeated Haverford in the three Inter-Ac championship games (previously the league champ was decided by regular season games).

“I knew our team was going to do our thing,” said Mehl, a senior committed to Army. “We have such talented players like Wills Burt and Teddy Malone, who draw so much attention.

“I was just fortunate enough to be in the right spot at the right time.”

“I mean, (Mehl) can shoot the heck out of the ball,” Haverford head coach Brendan Dawson said, “so I can’t tell you I’m shocked. But it was an awesome way for him to kind of step up and lead us through this thing.”

Mehl did much of his damage from distance, using his powerful shot while benefiting from strong ball movement. His role as a midfielder has been somewhat new as he started the season playing attack, but midway through the year, Dawson switched him to middie.

“He’s completely embraced it,” Dawson said of Mehl’s position change, “and it’s been just an awesome thing to see the reward there for him. So yeah, I’m really proud of him.”

Haverford toppled EA (11-8) twice in the regular season. The first game was a convincing victory, 14-8, but in the second second matchup three weeks ago, Haverford needed overtime to win, 10-9.

“We know we got them twice in the season, but it’s hard to beat a team three times,” said Fords sophomore middie Connor Nolen, who had two goals. “So we just wanted to come out here, give it all we got, and we came out on top, so that’s all we can ask for.”

Even with Mehl and Nolen scoring nine times, eight different Haverford players scored.

The Churchmen were led by Vermont-bound senior Tristan Whitaker, who finished his high school career with a five-goal performance. Whitaker kept EA in the game, especially in the first half, when he had three of the Churchmen’s four goals.

“He’s been a phenomenal captain all year long,” EA head coach Chris Bates said of Whitaker. “He’s near the top of everybody’s scouting report, and he’s delivered. He’s delivered as a leader. He’s delivered as a player.

“He’s got a bright future at Vermont going forward, but it’s just hard. The finale of it is just hard to stomach just because of how much hard work goes in for somebody like Tristan, who’s just led by example with extra lifting sessions, extra shooting. He’s somebody that you root for, and it becomes that much more painful at the end of a game like today because of it.”

While the season didn’t end as EA had hoped, Bates was happy with the team’s performance, which included wins over Malvern Prep and La Salle.

“Frankly, I think we eked out as much out of this group as we could have hoped,” he said. “I give this group a lot of credit. At the end of the day, we’re going to continue to build on it. We’re not satisfied, and we feel like we’re in position to continue to develop as a program.

“When you see seniors crying, walking off the field, you feel for them, but then you also know that your program’s in the right spot. There’s that kind of emotion around their teammates and caring about the results on the field.”

Now the Fords look to avenge two regular-season losses to Malvern Prep, the second one a 1-goal game.

Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Fords knew it could be their last of the season, but going into Friday’s game, they know it will be their last. Before the year, Dawson told his squad that “your team has a shelf life, and hopefully for us, it’s May 20th.”

They made it to May 20th, and Dawson’s mindset for the team entering Friday’s game is clear.

“That’s the last time we’re probably ever going to be together,” he said. “Just take advantage of it, and just enjoy it.”

Haverford School 15, Episcopal Academy 10
Haverford 3-4-2-6- 15
Episcopal 2-2-4-2 – 10

EA:
Tristan Whitaker — 5g, 1a
TJ Lamb — 2g
Dylan Jaszcz — 1g
​​Charles Kraftson — 1g, 2a
Nicholas Wolff — 1g
Sam Malloy — 1a
Lucas Slate — 1a
Andrew McMeekin — 1a

Haverford School 15, Episcopal Academy 10

Haverford School
Avi Mehl – 7g/1a
Teddy Malone – 1g/2a
Wills Burt – 1g/2a
Connor Nolen – 2g
Ryan DiRocco – 1g/1a
Brendan Leary – 1g/1a
Colin Zeller – 2a
Aidan Kopen – 1g
Gavin Cooper – 1g
Ben McCarthy – 1a
Chuck Cacciutti – 10 Saves
Ben McCarthy – 7 GBs
Pat Gillin – 4 GBs
Will Costin – 3 GBs
Ben McCarthy/Jake McCarthy – 14 FO wins

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