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Malvern Prep’s defense shines in Inter-Ac showdown at Talen Energy Stadium

PETE BANNAN-DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA Malvern Prep (29) Kieran Barr battles Springside Chestnut Hill (7) Chase Rotelle at Talen Energy Stadium Tuesday evening. The Friars won 1-0.

Chester >> When Malvern Prep senior forward Scott White drilled home the lone goal in the Friars’ 1-0 win against Springside Chestnut Hill Tuesday evening at Talen Energy Stadium, the feeling he experienced was almost surreal.

“It was unforgettable — it can’t get much better than that, with the venue we’re playing in,” said White. “The ball deflected off a defender, hit my right knee, and I knocked it into the top left corner [of the net].

“This whole night was unbelievable, including before the game, when each of us were introduced.”

White, who has committed to Ohio State University for lacrosse, only played about seven minutes of Tuesday’s contest. But he has a knack for scoring big goals — he also tallied the Friars’ game-winner in a 2-1 win against Delaware power Appoquinimink on senior night last month.

Tuesday night, Malvern’s defense did the rest for the Friars (8-2-4, 4-0-1), as they took over first place in the Inter-Ac. Prior to the contest, Springside Chestnut Hill (13-2-1, 4-1) had been undefeated in the league.

The victory was Malvern Prep’s fourth Inter-Ac shutout this fall, and it didn’t come easy, as SCH kept threatening to score throughout the game.

“Our defense has been our key every game, and it all starts with our goalie [senior Jake Hodlofski],” said Malvern Prep head coach Andrew Kummerer. “Our back four and our midfielders have been contributing to our success, too, and they did tonight.”

Malvern kept SCH off the scoreboard Tuesday night with help from many Friars – junior Zach Hurchalla, senior Connor Dillon, senior Desmond Papariello, junior Kellen Fitzgerald, junior Kieran Barr, senior Lucas Hammond and junior Matt Lamond.

Kummerer was aware of the special venue and the pre-game excitement it generated for the players.

“Before tonight’s game, I told our players to ‘settle, adapt and attack,’” said Kummerer.

Hodlofski, a University of Scranton commit, was caught up in the pre-game excitement.

“Before the game, I was taking it all in,” said Hodlofski. “I’ve been coming to Union games here since I was 9 years old – in fact, I was at the Union’s first game ever here. Tonight, I kept looking all around, even during the first few minutes of the game. But then, [Springside Chestnut Hill] started attacking hard in the first half, and I really had to focus.”

Hodlofski came through with flying colors once again, recording seven saves.

“Tonight was definitely an unforgettable night, and I’m glad I got to experience it with my Malvern brothers,” said Hodlofski.

“Jake gives his all every single night, brings energy to our team,” said White, whose goal came with 14:35 left in the contest, with help from a corner kick feed by fellow senior Val Badalamenti.

Interestingly, Kummerer and SCH head coach Bryan Zalasky were college roommates at Elizabethtown College, playing soccer for legendary coach Skip Roderick. Coming into Tuesday’s contest, both teams featured rock-solid defenses.

“Playing for [Roderick], we both learned a lot from him, so our two teams have similar styles,” said Kummerer.

“Malvern is very organized, a very good defensive team,” said Zalasky.

NOTES >> Malvern’s win was the second game of a doubleheader at Talen Energy Stadium. In the first contest, Episcopal Academy and Haverford School played to a 1-1 tie. The announced attendance for both games (combined) was 634.

Malvern Prep 1, Springside Chestnut Hill 0

Springside Chestnut Hill 0 0 – 0

Malvern Prep                      0 1 – 1

Malvern Prep goal: White.

Goalie saves: Hodlofski (MP) 7.

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