NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA – It is a longtime tradition for the school communities of Episcopal Academy, Agnes Irwin School and The Haverford School to enjoy a weekend of friendly Inter-Ac League competition as well as fellowship between alumni, faculty, staff, students, families and friends of the respective communities.
November 10-11, marked the annual EA-AIS-Haverford weekend.
“It’s a one of a kind weekend for all three communities,” said Episcopal Academy girls’ soccer coach Andy Fraggos.
Many people came out rooting for the girls to take home the banner as well as for the boys to bring home the sweater. That is because the tradition states that the women who win three or four games (cross country, tennis, field hockey, soccer) will take home the coveted “banner” and the men that triumph in three or more out of five sports (golf, cross country, water polo, soccer, football) will win the coveted “sweater” and have it displayed on their respective campus in the coming year. Others simply came to enjoy the fun, socialize, renew old friendships and form new ones.
(Photo Montage includes photos from Girls' & Boys' Soccer, Boys' Water Polo, Field Hockey, Boys' & Girls' Cross Country & Football)
“It’s a really close atmosphere,” said EA quarterback Adam Robinson. “Everyone is friends here. We look forward to it every year.”
The weekend of athletics began on Friday, November 10, 2017 with Episcopal Academy’s golf team sealing a win over Haverford at Merion Golf Club. EA girls’ tennis and cross country hosted the Agnes Irwin Owls, with the Churchwomen coming out on top in their respective contests.
Episcopal Academy field hockey hosted Agnes Irwin and emerged with a narrow 2-1 victory. Maddie Rehak scored for EA with Sofia Acosta assisting. Agnes Irwin used a time out with 11:47 in regulation and that came in handy as Ciarin Scott scored with 7:43 to play and the game was tied.
EA took a time out of its own with 6:15 on the clock and less than a minute later, Rehak tallied another goal off of Kelly Smith’s assist.
“It’s huge,” said Smith. “I love how everyone comes to watch. It means so much.”
Agnes Irwin goalkeeper Paige DiLullo dominated with a total of 15 saves.
“Relying on defense got me through,” she said. “We talked about it all week.”
In girls’ soccer action, the Churchwomen (18-3) shut out the Owls, 2-0. This happened just one day after they sealed their place in the PAISAA championship game following a 1-0 rout of Penn Charter in the semifinal round of the playoffs. Previously, they defeated Agnes Irwin, 3-0, in Tuesday’s quarterfinals and proved to the Owls that the prior outcome was no fluke.
“We’ve been very confident,” said Fraggos.
An own goal gave EA a quick 1-0 advantage. Olivia Dirks found the net with 6:20 remaining in the first half and that turned out to be the game. Leading the way on defense was goalkeeper Hannah Moriarty. The final minutes of action flew by and after the buzzer, the Churchwomen were presented with the banner.
“I was ready to attack and get the ball if need be,” said Moriarty.
Raina Kuzemka, Alexandra McHugh and Anna Salvucci all kept the Churchwomen moving in the midfield.
“They’re the best teammates in the world,” said Moriarty. “I couldn’t have done it without them. It was a really big win.”
EA was presented with the Split Banner after the girls' soccer game - Photo Courtesy of @EA_Athletics
The following day (Saturday), the men were presented with the sweater after a twelve-year absence. In 2010, Haverford and EA were tied but the Fords went 10-0-1 in the competition from 2006 through 2016. The EA boys’ cross country team upset the Fords but Haverford defeated the Churchmen in water polo and at that point, EA was 2-1 in the race to capture the sweater.
The competition became even more intense as the boys’ soccer game was filled with action on defense and in the midfield. Regulation and two overtimes turned out to be too little time for a Churchman nor a Ford to find the net and so a 0-0 tie went down in the book. EA’s Sam Wilson was threatening but did not get past Haverford goalkeeper Bobby Stratts.
“He is a stinger,” Stratts said of Wilson. “I had to talk to my backline. We would settle for shots outside of the box.”
EA goalkeeper Trevor Manion stopped 17 shots.
“We came with a good strategy,” said Manion. “We kept our calm. There was a lot of noise from fans. They were behind us in full force today.”
The finale of the weekend was the football game. EA (7-4, 3-2) stuck together and ultimately finished with a 35-21 victory over the Fords (1-9, 0-5) to get the sweater back for the first time in twelve years. This also marked EA’s first win against Haverford since 2011.
“We stuck together,” said running back Will Barlee. “They came out with a lot of energy. We stepped up to the challenge and came up with a victory.”
Barlee picked up four touchdowns on the afternoon going 200 yards on 29 carries. He completes his 2017 junior year with a total of 1,268 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Things were tight in the second quarter. Ryan Rackenbach scored a touchdown with 6:34 to play in the first half. James Silvi’s kick for the extra point was good and although the Churchmen had a 14-7 lead, the half was far from over.
The Churchmen & Fords Tied 0-0 in Saturday's soccer match-up to end regular season league play - PSD Photo taken by EA Jr. Reporter Alexandra Conroy
EA defeated Haverford School in the final event of the afternoon in a 35-21 victory - PSD Photo by EA Jr. Reporter Alexandra Conroy
EA's Golf team poses with the coveted split sweater after claiming it outright for the first time since 2005 - Photo courtesy of @EA_Athletics
Haverford’s Logan Keller gave his team great possession on the next drive at the 43 yard line. Nate Whitaker picked up a first down, five yards in to EA territory. Jack Bush and Ryan McCann stopped Keller but Jake Spencer got the touchdown and Dante Perri’s extra point tied the score with 2:57 left.
That did not last. Matt Bush had a huge first down at the Fords’ 33 yard line and Barlee picked up his second touchdown on the next play. Silvi’s kick allowed for a 21-14 halftime surplus.
Another Barlee touchdown late in the third quarter extended the lead to 28-14 but there was plenty of time. Haverford quarterback Ben Gerber completed a pass to Whitaker 1:07 in to the fourth quarter. Chris Clark kicked the extra point to make it 28-21.
Haverford was threatening but Adam Klein sacked Gerber and EA took over at its own 46. Robinson reached the 50 before Barlee picked up a first down at the 32, followed by a touchdown. Silvi was good for yet another extra point and that was the game. After the clock expired, throngs of fans from the student section swarmed the field to celebrate the big victory as EA was presented with the sweater.
“I’m speechless,” said Robinson who ran for 81 yards on 23 carries. “I’m so glad it paid off for my team. They deserve it.”
EA’s teams concluded the EA-AIS-Haverford weekend 7-1-1.
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