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Inter-Academic League

X-tra work by Trucksess steers Fords past Penn Charter

PHILADELPHIA >> Joel Trucksess doesn’t shy away from his memories of the last time Haverford School and Penn Charter met.

No, not necessarily the Quakers’ win at Haverford, their first win over their Inter-Ac mates in 14 seasons. Trucksess was more consumed by the battle at the X between him and PC sophomore Gavin Tygh.

“He beat me up pretty bad last time,” Trucksess said Friday.

The smile on his face after the rematch indicated how far in the past that first meeting seemed.

Trucksess dominated his highly-touted counterpart with a 16-for-27 day on draws to go with a goal as Haverford School exacted revenge, 14-10.

The win keeps the Fords (11-5 overall, 6-2 league) even with Malvern Prep atop the Inter-Ac standings. It also drops Penn Charter (9-10, 4-4) two games off the pace.

Trucksess’ second encounter with Tygh was considerably more memorable, and it informed the game’s roller-coaster character. Back on April 18, the University of Virginia-bound sophomore Tygh won 13 of 19 draws, helping the Quakers control the ball and fuel a 9-7 win.

Friday was a different story, Trucksess using his quickness and superior play by wings Chris Hervada and Johnny Nostrant to gobble up possession time and again. He also added a goal at 5 minutes, 16 seconds of the third quarter that put the Fords in the lead for good.

“I know he’s an athletic guy so whenever we’re in the 50/50 balls, he’s really good at getting down and getting the ball,” Trucksess said of Tygh. “So leading up to this game, I’ve been working on grounds balls and boxing out on my guy because I knew that would probably be the struggle. I was winning most of the clamps in the first game but he was getting the ball a lot. So basically working on that and clicking with my wing guys knowing, where to put the ball and where they can help me out.”

“Every time we got the ball, we would score and we knew that,” junior TJ Malone said. “So we were all riding on Joel because if we had the ball, we were going to score.”

Trucksess’ offensive contribution came at a pivotal juncture. The Fords had romped to a 7-2 lead early in the second quarter thanks to five straight goals (the first three separated by 73 seconds) powered by early hat tricks by Malone and Luke O’Grady. Trucksess won four of the six draws in that span.

But then the momentum shifted. Penn Charter won four of the next six draws, three by Tygh, who finished an uncharacteristically average 10-for-26. That provided space to tie the game at seven on Nick DiCicco’s goal midway through the third.

But 12 seconds later, Trucksess won a draw and zoomed in to score. When Nostrant snuck home his third goal with three seconds left in the frame, the rapid-fire burst yielded five goals in 5:13 and an insurmountable 12-7 advantage.

“Sometimes we have a habit of coming down in transition and throwing the ball away, but when our attack kind of calms down and plays within ourselves and doesn’t try to do too much, everything kind of falls into place for us,” Nostrant said. “All we’ve got to do is run our offense, and that’s when we find our success.”

Another player with something to prove Friday was Malone. The attackman missed the last meeting and made up for lost time quickly with five goals and an assist. He added the ninth goal late in the third and fired into an empty cage with 1:15 to play to seal matters.

“I didn’t play in the first game, so I wanted to show that they needed me to play, humbly,” Malone said. “I just wanted to show that we can beat them any time, and we scouted them. They played zone, so we knew how to play zone. We were prepared for them, that was the biggest factor.”

Penn Charter — which pregame dedicated a touchstone made of steel from the World Trade Center site in honor of former team captain Peter Ortale, who died in the attacks on 9/11 — got four goals from defensive midfielder DiCicco. Many of the goals scored by he and Luke Stansfield (two markers) were bullish, head-to-the-crease efforts that exacted a physical toll.

That pair scored in succession within 14 seconds early in the fourth to cut the deficit to 12-9 with 10:38 remaining. But with the energy already spent on one comeback, a second didn’t materialize.

“Once we get our hopes up and they score a couple goals, it’s kind of defeating, kind of deflates how we feel,” DiCicco said. “But we’re not the kind of team that just gives up after a couple of goals. We’re one of those teams that just keeps fighting and fighting. After they got that second burst of goals, we thought we were still in it and still battled.”

Ultimately, the battle at the ‘X’ shaped the course of the game. And there, Trucksess left little doubt.

“I think it’s nice for that to change up a little bit,” he said, harkening to the first meeting. “I know (Tygh) is a great faceoff guy and it’s going to go back and forth. Every other game, it might be different, one of us might have the edge. But it feels good to have a little bit of the edge here.”

Elsewhere in the Inter-Ac League:

Episcopal Academy 10, Germantown Academy 4 >> Connor Ringwalt posted a hat trick and dished an assist, and Jake Martellucci and Charlie Cuniffe scored twice apiece for the Churchmen.

CJ McAnally added a goal and two helpers for EA (8-4, 5-3).

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