Lax Captures Interac Title

Brendan O'Connor

Malvern Prep Lacrosse has won the Inter-Ac Title outright. We closed our regular season on a seven-game win streak. We had a convincing 14-8 win over St. Joe’s Prep. Matt Barrett was stellar in net with 14 saves and Eddie McLoughlin tallied 3 goals. Defenseman Jared Horoski contributed a goal and an assist. The best defense, sometimes, is a good offense. We closed out April with a road trip to Penn Charter. In the last two years, they have taken us to overtime twice. There was no need for overtime against Penn Charter this time, as we won 11-4. Both Tommy O’Connor and Ryan Hilburn had 3 goals. Conor Glancy added a goal and three assists.

Three days later, we hosted the top team in the state, Episcopal Academy. We were stumbling upon a three game losing streak to EA and we were looking to break it. In our most recent game against them, we suffered our only loss, 8-7 in OT. Students stayed to form a student section unrivaled by any lacrosse game before. The team fed off that energy to get off to a lightning fast start. Charles Kelly was a key component in keeping the possession for the vast majority of the game, winning 15 of 21 faceoffs. However, the game belonged to Matt Barrett. He was nothing short of stellar in net with  a season-high 18 saves. He put the Episcopal offense to shame, holding them to only five goals. In the end, we were winners at 11-5. We were #1 in the state once again.

After that, we faced another test. We traveled to Haverford School and they were looking for vengeance after we pounded them for a 13-7 win. They did not want to have their senior day ruined without a fight. In even the first few minutes, it became apparent that they would be more difficult to beat this time. Even then, we came out fast to the point where after the first quarter, senior goalie Jake Landman was pulled in favor of freshman Alex Demarco. In the second quarter, Haverford midfielder Kerry Kynett shot from about 15 yards away off a dodge, missing the net. Matt Barrett, offended that he thought he could score, yelled in a voice audible on the sidelines, “Are you crazy, Kynett?” Matt Barrett would prove his point by turning up his performance in the second half. The offense ran wild on Haverford’s porous defense, scoring 13 goals. Tommy O’Connor had a season-high 5 goals and Joe Dunn had 3 goals as well as 2 assists. The final score was 13-10.

We romped Germantown Academy for a 16-3 win, guaranteeing at least a share of the Inter-Ac title. Charles Kelly and Gavin Weaver combined for 17 of 19 on faceoffs. Chris Hilburn would also have 3 goals and 2 assists. However, the bigger news of that game was that Haverford had upset EA, 11-6. We were on the top, and we were all alone. Celebration ensued by parents and players alike. For the upperclassmen, prom was a lot better knowing that they won. On Wednesday, we romped GA for 18-6 win. We matched up with  Lawrenceville (led by Malvern grad PJ Finley)in the semifinals on Monday at Cabrini College. We defeated them 11-7 behind Charles Kelly winning 15 of 22 faceoffs. Chris Hilburn, Joe Dunn, and Tommy O’Connor scored two goals each. Episcopal Academy, in wake of the tragic death of junior Paul Pratt, met Haverford in the semifinals, with whom they had split the regular-season series. Haverford would end up winning 9-8, meaning our next match would be the Inter-Ac Invitational finals on May 22.

No matter what happened, this would be the final game of the season. Early on, the story was Matt Barrett. He had 13 first-half saves and seemed practically impassable to all opponents. Even then, Haverford fought and had a 6-4 lead at halftime. However, Malvern battled back with a series of goals, including one by Drew Schantz to take our first lead since the beginning of the second quarter. Malvern tied the game, and ended the third quarter with the lead thanks to a Chris Hilburn goal. That lead would not last, as Haverford scored two goals unanswered to open the fourth quarter. Tommy O’Connor tied the game and later tied it again with 5:26 left to play. Haverford would take the lead less than two minutes later and after a Haverford goal with 24 seconds to go, the score would hold at 13-11. Even after a devastating loss, anyone could have acknowledged how far we had come in this season. After a disappointing 8-10 record last year, we were a successful 17-2.