Episcopal and Haverford Tie 1-1 in Thrilling Doubleheader
CHESTER, PA – Tuesday night saw a special Inter-Ac doubleheader, as four teams from the conference faced off at Talen Energy Stadium, home of the Philadelphia Union. Episcopal Academy and the Haverford School kicked-off the event and did not disappoint their fans in attendance.
The participating high school teams received professional treatment as they walked out of the tunnel to pre-game announcements, team introductions and a stirring rendition of the National Anthem.
“Super cool experience. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Haverford School senior midfielder Parker Gravina, in reference to the highly anticipated game. “I’m really grateful to both schools and the Inter-Ac that we could make it happen.”
Haverford put their butterflies aside and came out of the gates with a notion to test Episcopal’s defense. The Fords moved the ball well up and down the wing against the Churchmen and drilled several shots towards the goal early in the first half. EA keeper Trevor Manion made several key stops in the beginning of the contest, which helped to slow the Ford’s fast pace and regain possession. However, Haverford broke through in the 18th minute with a goal scored in front by the fittingly named senior forward, Nick Golz.
The Churchmen were not out of the game by a longshot. Episcopal controlled the ball, but were often prevented from getting good looks at the goal by the Ford’s defense. Haverford School senior keeper Bobby Stratts stopped a few shots that got through in the opening stanza, allowing the Fords to keep their one goal lead through the half.
In the second half, Episcopal junior striker Sam Wilson was able to break through on a few good early runs, but he was unable to convert on his chances. The action remained back and forth throughout the half, with Haverford clogging the middle and EA controlling the ball but not having much luck finding advancement past Haverford’s defenders.
Finally, in the 72nd minute, EA broke through with a thrilling goal off of a corner kick. After a brief scramble in front, junior Andrew Brenner got on the ball and kicked it into the net, notching his first varsity goal. The Churchmen, swarmed by Haverford, hung on in the closing minutes to send the game to overtime.
The two-five minute periods were unable to provide a decisive ending to the game, leading to a tie: Haverford School 1, Episcopal 1. The Fords and Churchmen traded runs but were unable to put anything definitive towards the net, as both teams shut the door on possible shots.
While Episcopal did not come away with an outright victory, senior forward Declan McCarthy thinks that the Churchmen’s second-half comeback may serve as a turning point for the remainder of their season.
“The Inter-Ac is a tough league, you need perseverance for that and I think we proved we have it tonight.”
Haverford School moves to 5-6-3 overall (1-3-1, Inter-Ac) and Episcopal sits at 15-2-2 (2-2-1, Inter-Ac). Looking ahead, this Friday the Ford’s will host Malvern Prep and Episcopal will travel to face Germantown Academy. Both games are scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m.
Goalkeepers for Haverford: Bobby Stratts first half (2 saves), Will Boyes 2nd and OT (3 saves).
Goalkeepers for EA: Trevor Manion (1 save), Alex Geczy (1 save).
Malvern Rallies Late to Secure 1-0 Victory Over Springside Chestnut Hill
CHESTER, PA - The lights were on, and the two leaders in the Inter-Ac did not disappoint in the thrilling conclusion to the doubleheader at Talen Energy Stadium. Malvern Prep and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy took the field in a battle for conference supremacy in the nightcap following the draw between Episcopal Academy and the Haverford School.
It seemed as though the importance of this game did not take away from the excitement, as the players have been anticipating playing on the Union’s home field since the season’s inception.
“It was awesome,” said Malvern senior goalkeeper, and University of Scranton commit, Jake Hodlofski . “We found out about this in the beginning of the year, and honestly we’ve been waiting for it all year. It was unreal.”
Malvern’s thrill was almost spoiled early by Springside Chestnut Hill, as the Blue Devils put a ball into the net in the 4th minute of the game. However, the goal was waved off. The Blue Devils played most of the first half on the Friars side of the field, controlling the ball and putting chances towards the net, with one of the better opportunities being deflected over the net by Hodlofski.
As the half progressed, Malvern stabilized their footwork and started to make a push toward Springside’s end of the field. As the aggressive play continued, the Friars had two players see yellow cards, which amped up the Blue Devil’s momentum. Unfortunately for Springside, the story of the half was too many missed opportunities. In the closing minutes, both teams entered halftime with unfinished business to address, tied 0-0.
The Blue Devils regained their motors in the second half, and came out of the gate stretching Malvern’s defense. Springside kicked several longer passes to advance its offense down the field, which lead to multiple clashes in front of the net. However, Malvern’s dexterous defenders blocked all shot attempts on goal.
In the 66th minute, it was a surging Malvern offensive attack that scored the opening tally. Senior forward Scott White converted the goal off a corner kick feed from senior, Val Badalamenti.
Springside Chestnut Hill did their best to open the Friar’s defense in the final minutes, but found it buttoned down. Malvern hung on for the 1-0 victory.
Malvern now sits in first place in the Inter-Ac with a 4-0-1 league record. , (4-0-1) but Hodlofski and the Friars known the Blue Devils are right on their heels.
“They were top of the table and we knocked them off, but props to them they played a heck of a game,” said Hodlofski, who recorded 7 saves on the night.
Coming into the game, the Blue Devils (4-1, Inter-Ac) had tallied league victories against Penn Charter, Germantown Academy, Haverford School and Episcopal Academy. While suffering a loss in a season is never pleasant, senior midfielder Luke Vogelman was proud of the way his team played and looks to get back on track in their next league game.
“Last year we struggled after our first loss but this year I think we’ll bounce back,” said Vogelman, who also serves as one of the Blue Devil’s co-captains. “We’ve got a tough game against Penn Charter Friday. Just got to get ready for it and we’ll see how it goes.”
Looking ahead, the Blue Devils will host Penn Charter on Friday at 4:00 p.m. and the Friars will play away at the same time against the Haverford School.