Follow the NLF on InstagramTwitter, YouTube and Facebook.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone outside of the Episcopal Academy (Pa.) program that would have predicted this kind of success for the Churchmen this year.

There’s always an adjustment period for a team with a new coach, even one as good as new Churchmen boss Steve Colfer. The former Cabrini coach, who led the Cavaliers to the 2019 Division III national title, inherited a team that went 12-9 a year ago and lost some excellent players. Couple that with a very young nucleus, and it wasn’t surprising to hear people think that EA could struggle a bit this year.

As it turns out, not so much. Friday, the Churchmen put together a complete effort to down host Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.), 12-10, to move into third place in the Inter-Ac. EA moved to 9-2, with its only losses to three-time reigning PIAA champion Radnor and defending Inter-Ac playoff champion Malvern Prep.


“It’s really important,” junior defenseman Paul Bruder, a Penn State commit, said. “New coach, young team, and everyone stepped up to the challenge. I was really impressed with how everyone did. We had people like (LSM) Rees Piontek, a sophomore, scoring goals for us. We had people like (another sophomore) Keegan Nash stepping up and a junior, Trevor Jakuc, having a nice man-up goal.”

Bounce Back from Early Deficit

Early on, it looked like SCH’s Ross Prince might single-handedly take out the Churchmen. EA senior Dylan Jaszcz (Penn State) opened the scoring, but Prince answered on the ensuing faceoff. Despite clearly favoring a lower-body injury, Prince won six of the game’s first seven faceoffs to go with his goal. The Georgetown signee finished 16-for-18 with a goal and two assists, but EA’s defense was able to slow down the SCH offense enough to give its offense opportunities to score.

“It’s tough defensively and it puts a lot on (Mercer signee) Jack Guido (six saves), who played impressively,” Bruder said. “A lot of it goes to our coaches, too. They were able to adapt to that and change our fast-break defense and change our faceoffs.”

EA has an opportunity to make an even bigger statement this week as it hosts the Inter-Ac’s two national powerhouses in Haverford School on Tuesday and Malvern Prep on Friday. Even a split would continue to serve notice that the Churchmen are on the upswing.

For its share, SCH was as good as expected down the middle between Prince and Penn State goalie signee Hayes Schreiner. The senior goalie made a dozen saves and fired home his second goal of the season by breaking a 10-man ride with a long-range rip. Despite that, though, the Blue Devils made too many mistakes. A team that’s been tabbed as SCH’s best in a long time will simply have to get its revenge when the teams reconvene on May 7.

Episcopal Academy vs. Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Standouts

Paul Bruder ’25, defense, Episcopal Academy (Pa.) – Penn State 

Giving up 10 goals when you go -13 on faceoffs is a pretty impressive feat. Senior Villanova signee Joe Bogle and sophomore LSM Rees Piontek were also particularly good, but it’s Bruder that flashed the most as part of a standout day from the Churchmen’s defense. The Penn State commit is terrific off the ground, and he must have had close to a half-dozen ground balls. Bruder also flashed his stickwork with an excellent caused turnover at GLE and a picked off pass near his net. A little on the smaller side, the lefty makes up for it with great pound-for-pound strength and good feet in the open field.

Dylan Jaszcz ’24, attack, Episcopal Academy (Pa.) – Penn State 

Jaszcz’s reputation has always been that he’s one of the best pure shooters in the senior class. He can absolutely let it fly with high-end velocity and power, and that hasn’t changed. One of the knocks on him in the past was that at times, he wasn’t as active on a play-by-play basis as he had the ability to be. He was much more of a constant presence, both with and without the ball in his stick, against the Blue Devils.

Jaszcz got the scoring started by burying a feed from sophomore Jackson Orcutt off of nifty off-ball cut. He then worked well off of a two-man game at GLE to come up the hash and rip an overhand sizzler. Right before the end of the half, he spied a cutting Zeke Kane (Amherst football) through the heart of the SCH defense and fed him the rock for a big juice goal for EA.

“We definitely lost a lot of guys last year and we have a lot of younger players playing,” Jaszcz said. “It’s really just getting the offense moving and taking on a different role this year where I’m not shooting as much. That’s fine with me, as long as I’m getting the ball moving and getting it to the younger guys that are finding their ways in the offense.”

Best wishes also go out to Orcutt, who landed awkwardly as he attempted a dive. The high-end sophomore missed the rest of the game and may be missing some time because of the injury.

Keegan Nash ’26, midfield, Episcopal Academy (Pa.)

Orcutt’s injury meant that someone had to step up for the Churchmen’s offense. His classmate Nash was all too happy to do the honors. He finished with a hat trick and a helper, but most impressively, scored his three goals in three different ways. He buried a great feed from Jaszcz in the middle of the field with a defense collapsing on him. Right before the end of the third quarter, Nash snapped a high-to-high shot after beating his man down the alley. Finally, the sophomore beat his man out of the corner and tucked in a lefty shot in traffic. Nash showed that he’s not afraid of taking a hit to make a play, and he’s got the hands and skillset to be an effective scorer without much space.

“That (third) goal was definitely huge,” Nash said. “I felt like I could take him and I was able to get under. I like dodging from behind, too, and we do a lot of that in this offense.”

Ross Prince ’24, faceoff midfield, Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) – Georgetown

Prince did pretty much whatever he wanted at the faceoff stripe. The Georgetown signee went 16-for-18 at the dot, but he was even better after the win. He fired home a blast five seconds after EA took a 1-0 lead. Prince then started the third quarter with a hockey assist on a Zach Silverman goal, and he followed it up with an assist on a Cole Carberry fast-break goal six seconds later. Officially, he finished with a goal and two assists, but he also picked up two secondary helpers.

Prince’s stock has continued an upward ascent in the past three years. He’s as good as anyone in the country, and his stick skills are a huge reason why. He credits part of that to playing attack as a freshman at Harriton before transferring to SCH. It’s clear that defenses have to pay attention to him during and after the faceoff.

“It’s a big part of my game,” Prince said. “Having the chance to play attack my freshman year at Harriton was a big stepping stone in my career. Having the chance to go against guys who were bigger, faster and stronger than me, definitely helped my game. … It’s nothing new. I was always a midfielder and an attackman.”

Hayes Schreiner ’24, goalie, Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH – Penn State 

Schreiner was the only goalie in Philly to pick up all-state honors in 2023. Assuming he continues playing the way he has, it’d be shocking to see him not earn All-America honors before heading off to Happy Valley. He stopped a dozen shots against EA, including a handful of highlight-reel stops, and was superb in the clearing game. Schreiner is active out of the cage when he has to be and throws dimes, including a ridiculous side-arm laser through traffic to an attackman camped out by the goal line.

Oh, and he also casually broke a 10-man ride with a snipe for his second goal of the year.

“We went over it in practice,” Schreiner explained. “That’s my second goal this year on the 10-man, but too bad it didn’t mean anything.

Schreiner’s best attribute might be that he’s so clean with his saves. He rarely cedes a rebound, and his quickness and flexibility help him get to shots on which many other goalies have no chance.

“Some of their goals were kind of on top of me and two hit off me and went in,” Schreiner said. “They’ve got good players on their offense and it’s a pretty good team.”