Haverford School puts on dominant display

HAVERFORD — In teasing out the options that Forry Smith and his Haverford School attack mates sort through every trip into the offensive zone, the sophomore isn’t concerned.

“It’s so much easier than it sounds,’ Smith assures you.

Regardless of how it sounded, it looked fairly easy for Smith and company Tuesday, with the Fords running out to a 12-5 win over archrival Episcopal Academy to open the Inter-Ac League slate.

What the Fords orchestrated, as they had in the seven previous wins to open the season and establish themselves as the top team in the nation according to many outlets, was an offensive symphony with a bevy of contributing sections.

They got four goals from Drew Supinski, who filtered into dangerous areas all afternoon. They benefitted from four goals from Smith, an accomplished finisher near the crease who also was credited with an assist and helped facilitate several other goals with his passing.

Their prime distributor, Grant Ament, did more of the finishing with two goals late in the first half to complement a helper, while Dox Aitken, one of the more dangerous shooters around, was relatively quiet with a goal and an assist, even if his threat to shoot off the dodge drew out defenders and opened up space for Ament and Smith to attack.

Add in the passel of second- and third-line midfielders (highlighted by Brandon Shima, who dished three assists) and reserve attackers who helped wear down EA’s defense, and it wasn’t so much a pick-your-poison proposition as an offensive flood that found its way through every crack in the dam.

“Any person, it doesn’t matter who’s doing it, we’re all going to play together and we’re going to play well,’ Supinski said. “Anyone on our offense, I think, is strong enough and good enough to score at any time. It’s kind of hard to guard.’

That rang true Tuesday. The Fords led 3-0 after a quarter, two of the tallies supplied by Supinski. The Fords scored the last four goals of the first half. They scored with Smith orchestrating behind the net, creating chances for himself and others. They scored in transition through Aitken, even with their best weapon in that element, Phil Poquie limited to just a quarter or so with the aggravation of a hip injury.

Even Ament, most known for his pinpoint passing, found his spots to whip home a pair of goals late in the first half.

The combination of the Fords fast start and the efficiency with which their offensive engine was turning over meant that once EA (6-2, 0-1) was down, the hopes of a comeback were limited.

“We just didn’t come to play today,’ said EA’s Curtis Zappala, who scored three goals. “We had a bunch of opportunities. We hit (Haverford goalie) Alex DeMarco in the chest. We couldn’t really find our groove in the first half.’

Part of the struggles for the Churchmen, in direct contrast to the Fords’ success, stemmed from the lack of options. Zappala lit the lamp three times, but save for goals in transition from faceoff man Christian Feliziani (16-for-21 at the X) and Chris Friedman, there was no other offense.

Zappala’s talent makes it nearly impossible for teams to mute him completely, but the Fords (8-0, 1-0) allowed him a handful of looks but prevented him from using his passing ability to bring the rest of his teammates to life.

“One of the keys we thought was stopping him,’ said Noah Lejman, who shadowed Zappala most of the way. “We wanted to be out on him to so he couldn’t feed or shoot. … They’ve got a couple other players out here who are good. You’ve got to really focus off-ball, and I think the guys on my team did a good job of that today.’

Zappala and Feliziani scored eight seconds apart in the third quarter to narrow the deficit to 7-3, but the Fords were never in danger of coughing up the lead, scoring the first three goals of the fourth quarter to put it out of reach.

In a season of big wins, the opening salvo in the league is as big as any.

“It’s right at the top,’ Lejman said. “Winning the league is one of our biggest goals, and this is a huge step toward doing that.’

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