Haverford School (PA) Defeats St. Paul's (MD)

By Chris Goldberg, PhillyLacrosse.com

There were more than a few Philadelphia lacrosse followers that questioned whether Haverford School was worthy of all the preseason hype. Friday in the Fords' season opener, those doubts were squashed.

Brendan McGrath scored four goals and Carl Walrath had three goals and three assists, while Goran Murray led a solid defense in front of goalie Conor Kelly as Haverford School dumped visiting St. Paul's (MD), 13-9, in a battle of nationally ranked teams.

St. Paul's, of the vaunted Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association, entered played ranked No. 3 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Power rankings; Haverford School was 14th.

The Crusaders started strong, taking a 3-1 lead. But the Fords erupted for eight unanswered goals and took a 9-4 lead into halftime. St. Paul's never got closer than 10-7.

"We came out here with a lot of (people doubting us) because we have a lot of Division I commits," said Murray, a long stick midfielder committed to Maryland, "We came out and proved we could win with all the (media looking at) us."

Murray is one of 12 Division I recruits for the Fords, who are junior-laden and inexperienced on defense, But Kelly, who is replacing two-time All-American was solid in the cage with 15 saves and the Haverford School defense held down a team that has 15 players committed to Division I colleges, including some of the highest-rated midfielders in the country.

"We talked a lot on defense," Murray said. "We decided to slide early and we switched to the middies because that's where their strong side of the field is.

"We kept reminding the defense to play sides and take angles. We're all pumped, to come out here to overtake this team."

Also for Haverford School, junior Chris Hupfeldt (committed to Penn) had two goals and two assists, senior attackman Stephen Aitken (signed with Penn State) had two goals and an assist and juniors Matt Walters (committed to Syracuse) and Grove Stewart each had a goal and an assist. McGrath (committed to Princeton), Walrath (commitetd to Virginia) and Kelly (committed to Notre Dame) are also members of the highly-touted junior class.

Also, senior middie/face-off specialist Liam O'Connor (signed with Notre Dame) and junior Joe McCallion (committed to Penn) helped the Fords win 15 of 24 face-offs.

Junior Jay Carlson (committed to Maryland) had three goals to pace St. Paul's and junior Taylor Michel (committed to Virginia) and senior Alex Chay (signed with Georgetown) added two each. Junior Dan Gutberlat and senior Zach Linkous (UMBC) each scored once. Haverford School held senior Pat Powderly (signed with Syracuse) one of the top middies in the country and a producer of 85 points last year scoreless.

"I have a lot of respect for (coach) Rick (Brocato) and St. Paul's," said Haverford School coach John Nostrant. "Conor played great. Powderly and Chay are two of the best middies we'll face all year.

"They kept coming, but we played good team defense and shot the ball well. If you control the face-offs, you can do something."

The Fords face another MIAA team Tuesday, when they travel to Baltimore to meet Loyola Blakefield.

2010-03-13



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