Ben McCarthy was ready for a battle Tuesday.
On paper, that would’ve meant the Haverford School sophomore five-star faceoff man tangling with Episcopal Academy senior and Princeton commit Andrew McMeekin in an Inter-Academic League rivalry showdown in the Philadelphia suburbs.
But a wrist injury to McMeekin denied that marquee matchup. No matter for McCarthy, who went about his business just fine, regardless of who was in front of him.
McCarthy was outstanding, going 17-for-22 at the X, including 8-for-9 in the fourth quarter and overtime, as the Fords rallied to a 10-9 overtime win.
“I prepare for the best every game because you can’t take anybody lightly in this league,” McCarthy said. “I brought my A game and I played hard. So did the rest of our team, and it paid off.”
Big Wins for a Big Win
McCarthy’s matchup wasn’t an easy one: In McMeekin’s place, EA rolled out junior William Hohn (Monmouth). But McCarthy dominated nonetheless, ensuring the Fords had a steady supply of possession.
It took that much time for Haverford to arrange its array of attacking options into steady sources of offense, particularly against EA’s zone defense. But McCarthy’s excellence at the X gave them the space to figure things out.
“I have faith in everyone on our offense and our defense that they’re going to see what’s thrown at them and adapt,” McCarthy said. “If I keep doing what I’m doing, they’re going to do what I do.”
Haverford only led twice in regulation, on a goal by Ryan DiRocco (Army) midway through the second quarter and on a Colin Zeller goal with 1:50 to play. But they led when it mattered most, when Wills Burt (Virginia) took a feed from Teddy Malone (Harvard) in traffic and buried it at 1:15 of the overtime session.
A Battle From The Hosts
Episcopal led most of the way, with Lucas Slate and Charlie Kraftson scoring twice each. TJ Lamb (Cornell) added two goals and two assists, including the marker to tie the game at nine with 58 seconds left.
Lamb’s was the only goal of the third quarter, EA keeping Haverford off the board. The Churchmen’s defense, despite starting freshmen close defenders in Paul Bruder and Evan MacFarland, remained stingy. Senior Nash Womack (Penn) made nine saves in goal.
“We’ve been working together all season,” EA defenseman Matt McCarthy (Big 4 HHH ’22 / Penn). “It’s been a work in progress but I think we’re getting there. As the season goes on, we’ve been building our chemistry. I thought we came out strong today, but it just didn’t go our way.”
Ben McCarthy ’24, faceoff midfield, Haverford School – 2024 five-star
McCarthy didn’t match up with McMeekin, but Hohn, a Monmouth commit and a year older, is no slouch. McCarthy’s reaction time is top-tier, with a knack for anticipating the whistle. Many of his wins were clean, and he makes good decisions with the ball. Even when Hohn succeeded in prolonging the battle on the ground, McCarthy has the strength and toughness to get down and dirty.
Wills Burt wins it! Teddy Malone the feed. Haverford School 10, Episcopal Academy 9 pic.twitter.com/gaG4OolRf6
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) April 26, 2022
Burt made big plays at big times, scoring the first goal of the fourth quarter, assisting on Haverford’s final goal of regulation and scoring the game-winner. Burt’s elite skill at the next level might be his elusiveness off the dodge. He’s got the passing vision and hands to execute pinpoint feeds when he creates that space, and he’s got a heavy shot to cash in when he crashes down the wing.
Pat Gillin ’22, LSM, Haverford School / Delaware
Gillin is a gamer who played through being banged up a couple of times. He’s got great game awareness at the LSM spot: He’s a perfect winger for McCarthy, has an active stick to disrupt passing lanes and is a terror in transition. Gillin caused a couple of turnovers and is great adept at punishing loose passes in the early phase of setting up an offense.
All you need to know about Lamb is, with his team down a goal with 1:10 left, Lamb came out of a timeout, dodged from up top, beat his man and planted a shot under the bar to tie it. He’s got the aggressive mindset you want from a middie, with the hands to make passes or place shots. As a multisport athlete – he’s a forward on EA’s basketball team and a big target at wide receiver – he’s no doubt a plus-athlete.
Nash Womack ’22, goalie, Episcopal Academy / York
Womack is the less highly touted of the goalies, with Chuck Caccuitti (Penn) in the other cage. Womack was the busier of the pair, and he stood firm in the face of that pressure. Haverford held a 37-27 edge in shots, and Womack made nine stops, including a pair of top-shelf denials – one on Brendan Leary after a turnover, one on Avi Mehl, who scored a hat trick, one-v-one in the final 30 seconds of regulation. Womack isn’t the most imposing goalie – even at a listed 6-foot, 150 pounds, he looks slight – and his clearing Tuesday left room for improvement. But his shot-stopping ability is higher than a Division III level.
Haverford School 10, Episcopal Academy 9
Haverford School 2 3 0 4 1 – 10
Episcopal Academy 4 1 1 3 0 – 9
TJ Lamb ‘23 (Cornell) 2 goals, 2 assists
Paul Buckley ’22 2 goals
Lucas Slate ’23 (Mesa) 2 goals
Tristan Whitaker ‘22 (Vermont) 1 assist
Charlie Kraftson ’23 2 goals
Cooper McAndrews ’23 1 goal
Nash Womack ‘22 (York Pa.) 9 saves
Avi Mehl ’22 (Army) 3 goals, assist
Teddy Malone ’22 (Harvard) goal, 3 assists
Ryan DiRocco ’23 (Army) goals, assist
Wills Burt ’23 (Virginia) 3 goals, assist
Ayden DiRocco ’24 1 goal
Colin Zeller ’23 1 goal
Ben McCarthy ’24 (Philadelphia Freedom) 17-for-22 faceoffs
Chuck Cacciutti ’22 (Mesa / Penn) 6 saves