Haverford School uses depth to quiet critics, beat Malvern Prep

HAVERFORD >> The last few seasons, opposing defenses had no trouble assembling a list of defensive priorities against Haverford School. Executing them was another matter, and for evidence, tune your television to a high-level college game this weekend and you’ll likely see one of the reasons logging significant time for a major program.

Haverford School’s Adam Salvaggio (9) fires on Malvern Prep goalie Andrew Clark in the third quarter of their Inter-Ac League match at Sabol Field Friday. Haverford School won 15-11. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

But this season is a different story on Lancaster Avenue, with few proven commodities that had cracked star-studded lineups of the past. Given the unfailing excellence of the Fords’ pipeline, that only creates trouble of a different character for opponents.

Haverford displayed that potency Friday, using a passel of scorers to blitz Malvern Prep, 15-11, in the Inter-Ac opener for both teams, a contest delayed a day by Thursday’s torrential rain.

Eight Fords found the back of the net, seven in the first half in amassing a 7-5 edge. And while the offense eventually crowned a hot hand — star du jour TJ Malone with five goals — the offensive outburst was predicated on balance, even more so with the Fords’ most seasoned attacker, John Nostrant, missing with a shoulder injury.

To so thoroughly handle Malvern, likely their closest challenger for the Inter-Ac title, sans Nostrant reinforces the notion that rumors of a down year for the Fords were greatly exaggerated.

“A lot of people didn’t think we were going to be good at all because we lost so many stars,” Malone said. “But we knew from the beginning of the year that if we worked hard together, we could be better than them. We’re just working even harder together and not caring about what people think.”

Malone was the ringleader with five markers and an assist. Peter Garno paired two goals with two helpers, and Luke O’Grady added two goals and an assist. The Fords (3-2 overall, 1-0 league) also generated transition offense via two goals from defensive middie Ryan Jacob, one from faceoff man Joel Trucksess and another from defenseman Chris Hervada.

Malvern Prep’s Sam Charlton, right, scores on Haverford School goalie Parker Henderer Friday afternoon. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Trucksess’s goal 14 seconds into the game set the tone. The Fords led wire-to-wire, tied only at 3-3 early in the second quarter. A long-stick goal by Malvern’s Sam Charlton four minutes into the third quarter cut the deficit to 7-6 and they inched within 8-7 later in the frame, but the Friars (5-2, 0-1) would get no closer.

Trucksess got the better of Sean Christman on 16 of 30 draws between the pair, perpetuating the Fords’ edge.

“It’s definitely hard when you’re down,” said Malvern’s Scott White, who recorded a hat trick. “You want to start the game with a bunch of energy, bench going, scoring a quick goal right away to get a fire going. We didn’t have any fire. We came out flat, and it really showed on the scoreboard.”

“It’s our biggest rivalry of all-time, so we’re coming off a big win, and that just boosts our confidence even more,” Malone said. “There’s so much energy coming in and we’re so amped up playing Malvern.”

Malone did most of his damage after halftime. Two goals in two minutes stretched the Fords’ lead to three at 10-7 late in the third. Malone also scored at 8:45 of the fourth, then iced the game with 5:14 to play to cap a three-minute possession, O’Grady setting him up in front of the cage.

“We’ve been practicing that and practicing dodging from all over the field,” Malone said. “So when you’ve got guys that are unselfish and willing to play, they’ve been waiting their turn behind the superstars for the past couple of years. And when we’re finally getting our turn, it’s worth it.”

Malvern’s offense didn’t awaken in earnest until the second half. Jack Traynor scored three times to go with two assists, his first contribution coming with 58 seconds left in the first half. Mike Fay and Quinn McCahon scored twice apiece, but the Friars were uncharacteristically sloppy in possession.

That manifested itself in goalie Andrew Clark passing straight to O’Grady for a first-quarter goal into an empty net, plus nearly a dozen squandered possessions under pressure from the Fords.

“They pushed out a little more than we expected, and I don’t think we showed up ready to play and the result shows,” White said. “We didn’t come ready to play, and that’s what happens.”

Haverford School’s TJ Malone, left, and Peter Garno had plenty to celebrate Friday, combining for seven goals and three assists in a 15-11 win over Malvern Prep. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

“We know on the defensive end that we can press out on anyone,” Hervada said. “We’re confident with all our guys, and then once we get the ball on the ground, we try to look and get it up and out, and then our offense is going to get it done for us.”

Though it’s early, both combatants Friday are moving in differing directions, Haverford as the winner of three straight and Malvern with its second consecutive loss. It’s merely an early salvo in a league that promises to be tight throughout, but the Fords no doubt drew first blood in impressive fashion.

“Malvern’s a huge game obviously, the first Inter-Ac game and definitely our biggest rival,” Garno said. “So we were pretty amped for today. It was definitely good to get off to a hot start and keep it going throughout the game.”

In the Central League:

Penncrest 9, Lower Merion 6 >> Have a day, Joe Quintilliano. The senior scored seven goals and set up one of Ryan Matsinger’s two tallies as the Lions got their first win of the season. Cody Hershock stopped eight shots for Penncrest (1-5, 1-3).

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