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Inter-Ac SOC: Episcopal Girls Remain Unbeaten and The Fords Continue to Climb the Leader Board in This Weeks Roundup.

By Jeremy Goode, 10/18/23, 10:15PM EDT



(Photos by Lennie Malmgren and Chelby Elam)

NEWTOWN SQUARE-  The last 79 minutes and 45 seconds of the 80-minute contest between The Episcopal Academy (EA) and Agnes Irwin School was uneventful in terms of scoring. 

But the first 15 seconds was a thing of beauty for the Churchmen of Episcopal Academy (EA).  EA kicked it off with a deep ball that Bridget Dempsey was able to settle in front of the net after a quick touch from teammate Maya Bright, resulting in a score only a quarter of a minute in. It would be the only goal of the match, as the number one seeded Churchmen in the Inter-Ac League would defeat the number two seeded Owls of Agnes Irwin, 1-0 on Oct.10th. 

A dagger of a play early, but EA head coach Andy Fraggos candidly would not take credit for it being a designed play. 

“I want to tell you yes, but it was not part of our game plan,” Fraggos said. “We are typically not an early scoring team, so we will take those when we can have them. I can’t believe that was the one deciding goal.”

Dempsey was quick to acknowledge the work done in order for the ball to be at her feet in front of the net. 

“It was a great ball in by our midfield, and then Maya just kind of poked it a bit and I just got on top of it and took a shot,” Dempsey said. 

The immediate advantage for Episcopal Academy was impactful at all levels. For goalkeeper Lauren Creamer, Dempsey’s goal in the first minute gave her a boost, knowing that she would now be defending a lead, while also taking some pressure off. 

“It gives us a little bit of a relief because we come out fast so it scares the other team,” Creamer said. “So, coming out with a goal instantly gives us a head start in the game.” 

The quick start for EA would only push the Churchmen to keep going. Bright would record a shot on net six minutes later that went wide right. Dempsey would continue runs on net with the ball. And it seemed like every time Agnes Irwin tried to clear the ball to Episcopal’s side, Natalie Magnotta was there to settle every 50/50 ball or come up with a steal at midfield, which she would get it to one of her teammates to go on the attack. 

Episcopal Academy vs. Agnes Irwin (video/ Lennie Malmgren for PSD)

Agnes Irwin would form their first sustained offense over 13 minutes in, as they would go up the sideline with throw-ins since Episcopal Academy would try to kill drives by kicking it beyond the sidelines. Nothing would result from the possession, but it added a new dynamic to the game, one in which EA would in fact have to defend their goal advantage. 

Midway through the first half, EA would really press their offense. The Churchmen’s Devon Stewart would have a shot on net that was saved by Agnes Irwin’s goalkeeper, Lindsay Reidenbach. EA would also have a corner kick opportunity with 19 minutes left in the first half that Agnes Irwin would clear away to midfield. A minute later, with EA making it hard for Agnes Irwin to clear the ball from their zone, Bright got a steal and took a shot from the 18 that went way wide left for a goal kick. 

The half would end with Episcopal Academy dominating possession and the field. Agnes Irwin would come out in the second half more aggressive, with several more players playing up on offense. The Owls would record several shots on net, some just barely missing the goal and going wide of the post. Regardless of their offensive energy, EA would still shut them out for the half, and ultimately for the game. 

“Agnes Irwin did a great job of being organized and pressing us,” Fraggos said. “Coming out of that without a goal against us is fantastic.”

EA coming out of the game without a goal against them has been a theme in Inter-Ac play, so much so that in the six league games they have played, opponents are scoreless. Creamer and the Churchmen’s backline get all the credit for the shutout.

For such an accomplished feat midway through the season, Fraggos and his team were not even aware of their goals against statistic in the Inter-Ac League. 

“I mentioned that in practice yesterday, that we don’t have a goal against us in conference, and I was pleasantly surprised that our girls didn’t know that,” Fraggos said. “It is so routine for us that we show up, we play good defense, and this is what we do that we are not counting shutouts and that was humbling to hear.”

Episcopal Academy's Lauren Creamer talks about team mentality and achieving another shutout. (Video/ Jeremy Goode)

With Creamer’s six shutouts in as many games in Inter-Ac play, she has certainly held strong between the posts. During the times in which she was challenged against Agnes Irwin’s offensive push in the second half, she defended and grabbed every shot her way. 

Creamer acknowledges that the backline has also been responsible for blanking league opponents. She mentioned she has a “goldfish mentality” in which she is able to move on when adversity strikes, but also acknowledged how easy it is to play behind her defensive teammates.

“Our backline was really solid today,” Creamer said. “Backline has a lot of chemistry… communication and chemistry with the backline really makes it easy to not give up a lot of goals.” 

Episcopal Academy's Bridget Dempsey scores lone goal in game vs. Agnes Irwin. (Video/ Jeremy Goode)

EA remains undefeated in league play, and they will certainly take the 1-0 win against the second-best team in the Inter-Ac, Agnes Irwin. For Fraggos, even though his team has not faced adversity in terms of the loss column in league play, it was important before and after the game to remind his team of perspective and the difficulties they have overcome to keep winning against rivals. 

“No matter how the two teams were playing, we were both at the top of the conference right now,” Fraggos said. “This is always a battle every single year because it is such a rivalry game for us.”

BSOC: Haverford Enjoys 3 Goals in First Half, Down Germantown Academy, 4-1

Friday the 13th would not spook the Haverford Fords away from their winning ways, as they enjoyed a 3-goal first half and would defeat traveling Germantown Academy Patriots by a score of 4-1. 

“A lot of games we have been ahead at the half, so its big to get those goals on set-plays; being able to execute off of two of them is fantastic,” Haverford head coach Keith Cappo said. “Just got to be a little bit better on how we react to the second half with a lead like that.” 

 The Fords attempted to start off fast offensively. Luca Aloi from the left side inside the 18 sent a chip shot on goal that would roll to the Patriots goalkeeper a minute in. Gaining possession and threatening in Germantown Academy’s zone, Haverford sent a deep throw in on net just over two minutes into the match. McKai Hoilett would shoot on net off a high bounce from the throw in. His shot went wide left. 

During the 29th minute, Aloi would get another shot, this time sending a hard shot on goal that would not go above two inches from the ground and was saved. The Fords would force several corner kicks as well during the opening stage of the match, which Germantown Academy was able to clear successfully. 

It would not be until the 23:46 minute mark in which Haverford would get on the scoreboard, as Sebastian Perez-Gasiba hammered a free kick on net to the back of the net. 

“It was honestly just a momentum switch,” Perez-Gasiba said. “We started kind of slow, but we were able to get a quick free kick… I saw the goalie not on his line and just slotted it in.” 

Still trying to apply pressure and shots on net, Haverford would also transition into defensive efforts, as the Fords’ midfielders and backline contained the Patriots offense nicely throughout the first half hour of gametime, not allowing many threatening attacks. 

In fact, Haverford would turn defense into offense and capitalize with a goal just under nine minutes to play in the first half. Haverford defender Thomas Kaplan had a great defensive steal at midfield eventually got the ball to Anthony Costa, who would score to make it 2-0 Fords. An adjusting Patriot’s defense was not prepared for the sudden change of possession at midfield.

With just under five minutes left in the first half, the Fords executed on a corner kick, as Perez-Gasiba would take the kick on net and sneak in to the net untouched, giving Haverford the 3-0 lead going into halftime. 

Sebastian Perez-Gasiba Corner Kick Goal

When you’re on, you’re on. When asked about the impact of having a commanding three goal advantage at halftime, Cappo acknowledged how important the first half was for his squad. 

“It’s great; we have been successful with that this year,” Cappo said. “A lot of games we’ve been ahead at the half, so it is big to get those goals, especially on set plays.”

The second half would be a different story early on. Germantown Academy’s Roan Harrington would record a strong shot on net minutes in that was saved by Haverford’s goalkeeper, Connor Cresswell. The Patriots would have another opportunity in on net at 34:19 when Benjamin Creighton put a high header to net which Cresswell had to leap to snag out of the air just under the crossbar. 

Four minutes later Aiden Trabosh would put a shot on net from the right side of the 18 that Kaplan blocked. Haverford was not able to properly clear the ball, and 30 seconds later Harrington shot the ball on net, getting it passed Cresswell in the left corner for the Patriots first goal. 

The goal would snap the 51 minutes of scoreless soccer for Germantown Academy. It would also be the start of another defensive run for Haverford, as they would finish the game with 29 minutes of preventing Germantown Academy from scoring again. 

While Harrington’s goal would be the only one for the Patriots, they would still challenge Cresswell for the last half hour of play, as Cresswell stood in there and saved several shots on net from Germantown Academy. 

“Obviously, I want the one [goal] back out of the net,” Cresswell said. “Not a zero on the scoreboard like I hoped, but I thought I played well. I just wanted to control my area; do my best to keep the ball out of the net and try to play through my feet as much as I could; be an asset to the team.” 

Player Interview- Connor Cresswell

Even with the “relaxed” approach on offense from the Fords in the second half, Cappo emphasized Cresswell’s strong play and how impressed he was by his and the back line’s adjustments after giving up the goal early in the second half. 

“I thought they did tremendous. I think Connor is probably one of the best goalkeepers in the country, if I’m fair,” Cappo said. “I think he has the ability to command the box that a lot of high school goalkeepers don’t have the ability to do.”

Cappo would also note that his back line of Kaplan, Daniel Belden, Thacher McCoy, and Jackson Raleigh did a good job of being ready to go, keeping the ball in front of them, and not getting sucked into anything. 

Sebastian Perez-Gasiba got the Fords on the board in game vs. GA. (video/ Jeremy Goode)

Nic Nekoumand would add Haverford’s last goal of the game with three and a half minutes to play, eliminating any chance Germantown Academy thought they could have had at tying the game and forcing overtime. 

The win gives the Fords an overall record of 10-2 and a 4-0 record in league play. This Haverford team have some tough critics, and they reside on the team itself. While they are undefeated in the Inter-Ac, they know there is room for improvement. And that just happens to be the biggest reason why Haverford is the defending champion in the Inter-Ac, and why they seem like the most dangerous team going forward.

“I think we played, overall, not to our best ability,” Perez-Gasiba said. “There is always room for improvements, but we were able to get those three points.” 

Cresswell had a similar sentiment. 

“Just got to keep moving. Got to keep moving,” Cresswell said. “The season is not even half way done; we need to continue on this roll and hopefully go undefeated.”

Around the Inter-Ac- Girls

Agnes Irwin defeated out of conference opponent, Bonner and Prendie 5-0. The goal scorers were Sydney Sturlson, Dylan Ohm (2), Campbell Collins, and Colby Costa. They will play play Springside Chestnut Hill on Tues., Oct. 17 in Chestnut Hill. The winner will more or less control the second seed in the Inter-Ac. 

Episcopal Academy girls soccer would defeat Penn Charter 1-0 on Fri., Oct. 13. The lone goal was scored by Bridget Dempsey and assisted by Maya Bright. Episcopal would outshoot Penn Charter 27-8. Goalkeeper Lauren Creamer would record two game-saving saves in the final minute of play and earn the clean sheet. 

On Tues., Oct. 17, Episcopal would defeat Baldwin 7-0, with seven different goal scorers. Addie Chang, Maya Bright, Bridget Dempsey, Ava Roberts, Quinn Whitaker, Devon Stewart all scored goals for the Churchmen. Kate Dente had two assists, while Bridget Dempsey, Mia Ganzhorn, Devon Stewart, Maya Bright has an assist. It would be another shutout for goalkeeper Lauren Creamer and the Episcopal back line. The win puts Episcopal at 13-2 overall, and 8-0 in the Inter-Ac. They have yet to give up a goal in conference play. 

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy defeated Baldwin 3-1 on Oct. 13. Jillian Major, Deus Stanislaus, and Cali Smith recorded goals against the Bears. Smith would also earn an assist. 

Around the Inter-Ac: Boys

On Tues., Oct. 10, the Inter-Ac would have a full slate of games. Penn Charter would defeat Springside Chestnut Hill Academy at home, 1-0. Haverford would also shutout Malvern Prep, 2-0. Germantown Academy would travel to Newtown Square and leave Episcopal Academy with a 3-1 win. 

On Fri., Oct. 13, Springside Chestnut Hill would host Episcopal Academy, securing a 2-0 win. 

On Sat., Oct. 15, Penn Charter would get a road win at Malvern Prep, blanking the Friars 3-0. The strong week for Penn Charter allowed them to remain second in the conference, just behind Haverford.