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Tierney stands tall as Haverford topples Radnor

RADNOR >> Between the posts, Danny Tierney has a short memory.

But when the Haverford goalie finished celebrating a 6-4 win over Radnor Tuesday afternoon, the junior indulged himself a walk down memory lane.

Haverford High School goalie Danny Tierney makes one of his 12 saves as Radnor’s Kyler Albany closes in during the Fords' 6-4 win Tuesday. (Digital First Media/Robert J. Gurecki)

Haverford High School goalie Danny Tierney makes one of his 12 saves as Radnor’s Kyler Albany closes in during the Fords’ 6-4 win Tuesday. (Digital First Media/Robert J. Gurecki)

The sting of his trip to Radnor as a freshman, when the Fords were blistered in a 16-1 loss, was still fresh. Last season’s bid at redemption was dashed by a broken leg that ended Tierney’s season in mid-April, the game before Radnor’s visit.

So Tierney savored all 12 of the stops he made against Radnor’s injury-plagued attack Tuesday, earning the Fords’ first win over the Raiders in at least 15 years.

“This is probably our biggest (win),” Tierney said. “At first it was Marple, because they’re always a rival and a team we beat by one every year. And we always are around their level. But Radnor is a step up, and that was a big target for us.”

Radnor (4-5, 2-3 Central League) couldn’t seem to solve Tierney. It started early, with Tierney leaping to deny Jake Brown twice, then Luke Jones in rapid-fire succession in the first half. He held firm in posting goose eggs in the first and third quarters, then made five saves in the fourth, the last a dart by Jack Wilson in the final minute that rocketed off Tierney’s leg and back toward midfield.

Radnor’s offensive struggles were exacerbated by injuries, with Clayton Proctor and Westy McLaughlin missing. They still outshot Haverford, 42-16, but the reigning PIAA champions struggled mightily at targeting shots on Tierney’s cage.

When they did, the defense led by Jack Farrell, Mike Romanofsky, Mike Dice and Austin McDevitt ensured Tierney’s workload was manageable.

“We have a lot of trust in each other,” Tierney said of his defense. “They know the shots I like to take and the ones I don’t like to take. They try to help me out and force those.”

ROBERT GURECKI - DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA. Radnor's Dan Tierney (1) tries to make the turn against Haverford during game played at Radnor.

Radnor’s Jack Wilson scored his 100th career goal in the first half, but the Raiders’ offense misfired as a whole in a 6-4 loss to Haverford Tuesday. (Digital First Media/Robert J. Gurecki)

“I feel like maybe there were some missing pieces and it takes guys a little bit of time to step into their roles,” said Radnor defensive midfielder Adam Neiberg, who scored in transition with 2:06 left to cut the deficit to 6-4. “But we’ve been practicing hard every day, and we should be stepping into those roles. Things weren’t falling our way today, but that’s no excuse and I think as a whole, we need to play better, and we know that.”

Without those attacking cogs, Radnor’s lack of offensive continuity was evident. Wilson opened the scoring early in the second quarter, his 100th career goal, and Brown set up Kyler Albany’s second-quarter tally before beating Tierney, but far too many shots flew errantly past the cage.

Haverford (8-1, 4-1) made the major adjustment it needed. The Fords’ fast start to the season has been fueled by a potent attack averaging 15.6 goals per game. Their lowest total on the season was eight (in a loss to Garnet Valley), and they hadn’t won a game with fewer than 13 goals.

Proving they could grind out a low-scoring affair like Tuesday’s is a significant step.

“I think it’s huge because lately we’ve been run-and-gun, and that’s kind of the story of our offense,” said Bobby McClure, the attacking ringleader. “What we needed to do was play a slow type of game, settle it down, and then work our offense and find the perfect shot. I think that’s what we did today.”

Nick DiIorio provided the early spark, scoring three minutes in and setting up McClure to make the score 2-0 after a quarter. DiIorio rifled home again 83 seconds before halftime to send the Fords into the break leading, 3-2.

McClure took over after halftime. He set up Billy Farrell for the only goal of the third quarter in transition, then Farrell reciprocated with the feed for the game-winner at 9:18 of the fourth.

Luke McCallion, who won eight of 14 draws, followed 42 seconds later with a goal off a scrum, giving Haverford a 6-2 stranglehold.

Beating Radnor marks the biggest victory of Haverford’s season, though the scheduling math means plenty more Central League challenges await. That also provides McClure’s perspective: It’s the most significant win of the season to date, but to achieve their goals, it can’t finish the season as such.

“This one was high on our list because we’ve never beaten them before and we’re not too fond of Radnor,” McClure said. “But I think this isn’t our biggest game of the year that we wanted to win. We’ve got more to come.”

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