Germantown Academy gives Haverford all it can handle in loss

WHITEMARSH — Haverford School made the trip to Germantown Academy to take on its Inter-Ac league foe on a crisp Halloween afternoon.

For the visitors, they were treated with a goal just three minutes in when Jerry Karalis scored in front of the net on an assist from Grant Yu, as the Fords needed just the one tally to creep past the Patriots, 1-0.

“We had to play yesterday in a makeup game and there were times where I definitely felt it was a tired performance and the sharpness wasn’t there,’ Haverford School head coach Bill Brady said. “But the heart and soul of our team is the fact that we can keep the other team off the scoreboard and just grind it out and (we) found a way.’

Haverford School (14-2, 6-1) kept attacking the GA defense after its initial goal, almost converting on a corner in the 30th minute from Shane McBride to the head of Sennan Farrelly that beat the outstretched arms of Patriot goalkeeper Steve Combs, but Seth Levin was waiting at the far post to clear the danger.

Then with five minutes left before half, the Fords thought they would be celebrating again when Matt Mayer flicked a ball towards goal, but the effort struck the crossbar.

Germantown Academy (6-9-3, 1-6-1) had some trouble finding its offense throughout the first half as a result of heightening the defensive presence and keeping the score at a minimal 1-0 at halftime.

“We talked about staying discipline because the first time we played them, they blew us out,’ GA head coach Chris Fehrle said of the 6-0 loss to the Fords on Oct. 14. “The game was over after the first half.

“We went into the game saying if we can keep nothing-nothing or 1-nothing by halftime, we’ll try to play a little bit more in the second half and they did that. I think we played a much more disciplined game today.’

In the second half the Patriots finally had a shot on goal in the 53rd minute by midfielder Brendan Lugossy, and James Rueter had a chance to head home a cross from Zach Viralli just a couple minutes later, but he didn’t get enough on the ball to threaten goalie Quinn Letter and the Fords defense.

“We’ll always find a way to put one on the board,’ Brady said. “In general I think we play against a lot of teams that will concede a lot of territory to us and just make it really difficult in the final third, and I thought GA did that again today.’

Even though the Patriots pushed numbers back to hold the Fords from inflicting further damage, Haverford School could have put some more goals in the back of the net if it wasn’t for Combs.

The keeper had eight stops during the game, with a big save against Karalis on a breakaway in the 49th minute and another on a strike from Connor Gregory in the 73rd.

“Overall, it was one of our better games against, to me, one of the best teams in the state right now,’ Fehrle said. “Unfortunately, we gave up an early goal. We’ve just had some unfortunate mishaps where we play well enough to win, but we don’t get the win. The boys are upset with our overall record, but we’ve honestly played good soccer, so hopefully we can build off this.’

As for the Fords, they collected another Inter-Ac win and continued to keep pace atop the leaderboard as postgame celebrations concluded with the passing of a matador figurine to defender Jimmy Tricolli.

“It’s this one tradition that one player takes the bull by the horns,’ Brady said with a chuckle. “So it’s a tradition that whoever got it the previous game, issues it to a teammate the following game who they admired for their performance.’

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