OK, so by now, you’ve heard how The Haverford School is going to be pretty, pretty good the next couple of years.
The Fords’ incredible turnaround from an 0-3 team that got shelled for 40 goals in those three games to the Inter-Ac Invitational champions after a 13-11 upset of top-seeded Malvern Prep was incredible. The talent was always there, but it was a question of getting it to come together. According to midfielder Peter Blynn, it was something Haverford expected to do down the stretch.
“(It’s) exactly what I expected to do,” said Blynn, who had three assists in the championship game and was recently named to the All-EPLCA team. “I didn’t want to say anything to get the other teams fired up, but we have the inner confidence in our team. We knew what we could do. We beat the No. 6 team, McDonogh (Md.), we beat No. 3 at the time Salisbury (Conn.). We were ready for whatever came at us. We think we’re the best team in the country, but we didn’t show that this year. Next year, we’re going to come out guns loaded, we’re going to be ready to go and we’re going to get No. 1 again.”
Confidence hasn’t been lacking over the past two years for the Blynn family. Henry was the Daily Times’ Player of the Year last year before becoming Brown’s leading scorer as a freshman and now, Peter has developed into a dominant midfielder. The Fords, though, have every reason to be confident as they turn their eye to the future.
– Freshman goalie Alex DeMarco went 4-0 as a starter after taking over for senior Jake Landman. Those wins included a game where Haverford denied Episcopal Academy a split Inter-Ac title, another win over the Churchmen to make it to the tournament final and then a game where the Fords handed the Friars their second loss of the year and the first in regulation. Oh, and DeMarco was equal to or better than Malvern’s All-America goalie Matt Barrett. Not too shabby.
“He’s one of the best,” DeMarco said of Barrett. “Just to play with him is amazing. … People were doubting us all year, so to just get that win with all the youth and all the people who think we have inexperience shows them wrong.”
– I think Malvern Prep star midfielder Joe Carlini had every right to be upset when he got called for back-to-back penalties, one of which led to Timmy Brooks’ bomb of a game-winning goal. I thought Carlini played good defense and got into good position, and quite frankly, at that point of the game, you’d like to make sure it’s the players who decide the outcome 10 vs. 10. Give the Fords credit, though. They executed their offense to perfection and Brooks’ shot was as perfect as it gets.
– Speaking of Brooks’ shot, I don’t know how goalies didn’t just offer up an empty net to shoot at. Oh my, can the Richmond signee unload an absolute rocket. Brooks said he didn’t always have this type of cannon, but working with 2012 All-Delco midfielder and Penn freshman Sam Rohr helped out a lot.
“Sophomore and junior year, every morning, I shot with Sam Rohr and he actually taught me to shoot on the run, taught me how to create space and really bring it.
– I’ve been pretty fortunate to see some very good high school lacrosse players in my three years of covering it, so I’m not blowing smoke when I say this. I think Barrett is the second-best high school goalie I’ve seen and he could make a convincing argument for No. 1. 2011 Daily Times Player of the Year Conor Kelly was absurdly good and he’d be my No. 1, but Barrett isn’t far behind. He’s a big guy who takes up a good amount of room, but he’s nimble, sees the ball so well and is so quick to react. I know Virginia brings in elite players every year, but I’d be surprised if Barrett didn’t make a big impact at some point.
– The Inter-Ac is Haverford’s to lose for the foreseeable future. EA and Malvern will undoubtedly present good teams, but you can’t help but get the feeling that the Fords are the team to beat. I’m clearly not the only one with that opinion. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Churchmen, Friars and the rest of the league combat Haverford’s elite freshman and sophomore classes.
Will they be able to?