Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/28/23 – From Staff Report
Wills Burt knew he had to move quickly when Haverford School called time and had little time on the shot clock in overtime of the Fords’ key Inter-Ac League matchup today with rival Malvern Prep.
“If I can remember correctly, we had under 20 seconds on the shot clock coming out of the timeout and we knew we had to make something happen quickly,” said the senior midfielder playing his first full game since the opener against Georgetown Prep due to a serious hamstring injury. “The ball moved to X and I saw an opportunity on the back side and took it.
“Because of the weather, I knew I was going shoot it low and it went in.”
The goal gave Haverford School a dramatic 11-10 victory over the Friars, pushing the Fords (11-2) to 6-0 in the league and two games ahead of the Friars (4-2 league, 9-6 overall) and Episcopal Academy (4-2 league) with four games to play in the regular season (the regular season decides the league champion; the league tournament has its own champion).
Haverford’s Ryan DiRocco had tied the game with 3:53 to play and the Fords gained the opening possession of overtime before running the clock down and calling time with 3:02 left in the extra frame. On the next play, Burt got the ball, passed once and got it back before a quick move to the right before shooting low on the far side to beat Chris Rabena for the win.
Also for the Fords, DiRocco and Colin Zeller (one assist) each scored twice and Ben McCarthy (one goal, two assists) won 16 of 24 faceoffs. Goalie Brody Murphy had 7 saves. Evan Large and Gavin Cooper each scored once and Wells Flinn dished four assists.
McCarthy had one sequence after Malvern Prep seized a 4-1 lead late in the first period that may not be duplicated. After Bickel gave the Friars a 4-1 lead with 8 seconds left in the quarter, McCarthy won the faceoff and scored 3 seconds later. Then McCarthy won the second-period draw and fed lefty attackman Evan Large for a goal 6 seconds into play.
McCarthy again won the faceoff and went down the field to set up right attackman DiRocco for a goal – all three goals with 22 seconds!
The Fords, who beat Malvern, 10-6 in their first game, have won eight straight games.
“We haven’t swept Malvern in a very long time so it was very big for us and gives us a lot of confidence,” said Burt. “But we know as a team that we have so much more to prove and we’re going to see Malvern again with and lot more at stake.”
AJ Nikolic (one assist), Jake Bickel and Michael Ortlieb each had two goals for the Friars, Owen Mears had a goal and three assists and and Ennis Udo ahad a goal and two assists. Dylan O’Connor scored once and Peri DeBartolomeo scooped four groundballs.
For Burt, this game meant more perhaps than anyone. The Virginia signee, who was a Second-Team All-Phillylacrosse.com pick last year, tore his hamstring early in the preseason and reinjured it again in the opening-game win over Georgetown Prep. he finally returned Tuesday for a few EMO runs in a rout of Episcopal Academy.
The weather today didn’t seem like the ideal game to return full-time, but Burt was determined to help his team in this most important contest.
“Fifty percent of a hamstring injury is mental,” said Burt. “I have been struggling with getting back on the field and I think this was a huge step forward for me in the mental aspect. I have came to terms that my hamstring won’t be 100% until after the season and I won’t be able to play how I used to, but luckily I have best friends and coaches that have helped me so much.
“Yes, I was definitely pretty nervous about the conditions, but I told myself over and over that I was going to be fine and nothing was going to happen!”
Haverford coach Brendan Dawson was thrilled that Burt had the opportunity to contribute on the field after displaying great leadership off the field.
“I am just so happy for him,” Dawson said. “It’s been obviously a rocky senior spring for Wills. And for someone that cares so deeply about Haverford lacrosse I’ve been heartbroken for him… but through this whole thing he’s been an awesome teammate and shown such great leadership/personal growth. To see him today have that moment was just great…I’m really proud of him.
“And after the game he was the first one to tell the team we still have more goals to accomplish…so I’m excited to watch him more!”
Haverford School 11, Malvern Prep 10, OT
Wells Flinn – 4 a
Wills Burt – 3g (Game Winner in overtime)
Colin Zeller – 2g/1a
Ben McCarthy – 1g/2a, 16/24 FO’s, 7 GB’s
Ryan DiRocco – 2g
Evan Large – 1g
Brady O’Kane – 1g
Gavin Cooper – 1g
Connor Nolen – 1a
Brody Murphy – 7 Saves
Connor Nolen – 3 GB’s
AJ Nikolic 2g
Michael Ortlieb 2g
Ennis Udo 1g, 2a
Dylan O’Connor 1g
Owen Mears 1g, 3a
Jake Bickel 2g
Nick Wehmeyer 1g
Roman Buono 4gb
Peri DiBartolomeo 2gb
Chris Rabena 6 saves