The Inter-Ac season is three games old, and already Episcopal Academy has doubled its win total from a season ago. The latest feather in the Churchmen’s cap is a 3-1 triumph over defending league champ Malvern Prep Friday, though it is a Friars team that is much younger than last year’s edition.
So where does that put the Friars in an Inter-Ac field that includes a balanced, home-and-home schedule?
It may be too early to tell. Or …
“I think it’s a different Episcopal Academy than we’ve had in years,” said forward Doug Trimble, who scored the final two goals against Malvern. “We have two league wins already, and I don’t think we’ve had that in a long time. So obviously, we are one of the best teams in the Inter-Ac now, and people should be afraid of us.”
Those are pretty strong words from one of the team’s veterans. Let’s try a less bullish view.
“I think at the beginning of the season, you asked me what this team was, and I said hard working and humble,” coach David Knox said. “I think we’ve got to work a little bit harder and be a little more humble.”
The truth is that the Churchmen have the ability to be contenders in the league, getting by Malvern on a day when Knox admitted they weren’t at their best. The standard-bearers should still be Haverford School, ranked No. 1 last week by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Coaches Association, and Penn Charter, which topped EA last week. It should be noted that the Churchmen (3-1 win) and the Fords (2-1 win) have a common opponent in Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, though the Fords have beaten Penn Charter.
But the Churchmen have a veteran lineup that could make some things happen. They have enough striking options in Trimble, Tyler Haab (three assists Friday), Nick Van Veen and Cole Grims to give teams different looks. Their midfield – the portion of the pitch in which most low-scoring Inter-Ac games are inevitably decided –is coming together, and Trupert Ortleib leads a defense in front of emerging goalkeeper Wills Singley.
So for now, the focus is on gradual development from game to game.
“I think it says a lot. I think this year,” Haab said. “I don’t feel like we’re a team that people though could compete. We’re looking at Haverford now, we’ve got Malvern behind us and we have to play them again.”