Geordy Holmes found himself expecting somewhat of a breakout year for Haverford School (Pa.) a season ago.
Sure, the senior midfielder had already gotten some experience as a sophomore for the Fords and committed to perennial powerhouse Maryland shortly thereafter. However, Holmes was expected to be one of the major driving forces for what was expected to be yet another potent Fords team under then first-year head coach Brendan Dawson.
Of course, like most best-laid plans of 2020, that all came to a crashing halt when Covid-19 caused the cancellation of the season after Haverford opened the season with a win.
“It was tough. It was devastating for everybody, but we had a great group of seniors last year, and they were great leaders and they showed a lot of the sophomores and juniors, who are now juniors and seniors, how to lead. That was huge for us. We stayed in touch with them in the offseason. The alumni at Haverford really stuck with us and showed us the way,” Holmes said.
The Fords have been making up for lost time since. After losing to MIAA power Boys’ Latin to start the season, Haverford has since rolled off four straight wins by an average of 6.5 goals per game. The latest was Saturday’s 11-5 handling of Lawrenceville School in which Holmes’ four goals led a nine-goal output from the Fords’ midfield unit. Junior goalie Chuck Cacciutti, who recently committed to Penn‘s admissions process, made the offense stand with 11 saves, including five in the final frame.
“We just liked a lot of the matchups,” said Holmes, who finished with four tallies. “We’ve got a lot of great middies that can score the ball. We’ve got a lot of great attackmen that can score the ball. Today, it was the middies, tomorrow it could be the attackmen. The biggest thing for us is being unselfish and moving the ball. We always talk about playing how the score’s always 0-0. Keep the foot on the gas, keep playing the way we know how to play, and that’s what we did. We scored some big goals and went on a nice run, and it was huge for us.”
After Lehigh commit Jack Scoma opened the scoring for Lawrenceville with a lefty rollback, Holmes took the ensuing faceoff win from uncommitted senior Adam Greenfield, ran down and ripped a shot home. A couple minutes later, it was Holmes again, this time corralling a rebound that popped into the air after a Timmy Piacentini save and dunking it into the open net.
Game of Runs Goes Haverford’s Way
Big Red sophomore Chris Matia tied the game with a terrific goal that pinged the far corner, but from there, Haverford took over. Greenfield won 10 straight draws, sophomore midfielder Wills Burt capped the half with a pair of tallies a minute and 29 seconds apart, and Haverford put the game away with a 9-0 run that stretched over the final three quarters.
Holmes was at the forefront of that offense, too. He finished off his hat trick in style, burying a BTB on the crease to push the lead to 9-2.
The Fords’ defense, also buoyed by Greenfield’s dominance at the X, held Lawrenceville off the scoreboard for a stretch of 39:55 of game play before Matia’s second of the game broke the drought with 3:24 to go.
“We like our guys,” junior defenseman Will Costin said. “We’re always taught to trust our matchups, no matter what comes, we’re just trying to stay on our matchups. If we have to switch, we have to switch, but we just trust our matchups and trust our guys. (Lawrenceville) are crafty so it’s hard because they’ll shoot off your hips. You just have to play them tight as much as you can.”
Senior William Upchurch (Colgate) and sophomore Hunter Chauvette scored 91 seconds apart down the stretch, but it was too little, too late for the Big Red. Despite the loss, it’s clear that Lawrenceville is primed for a big future under first-year head coach Jon Posner, who built Culver Military Academy into a powerhouse and expects to do the same with the Big Red. It’s a relatively young Big Red group that started four sophomores, including NLF No. 23 ’23 Quintan Kilrain, and Piacentini, a freshman. Give it some time, and Lawrenceville will likely bust down the door to enter the conversation of the country’s best teams.
Saturday, though, they just played too much defense.
“As a Lawrenceville team, something I’ve always said is just, ‘do your job,'” senior midfielder Drew Friedman, a Yale commit, said. “That’s something that we didn’t necessarily do today. I think the two things you can always control are your attitude and effort, and those are things we didn’t control today and we came up a little short. We’re on to the next week and just taking it game by game.”
It is, however, a nice change to be able to have those games.
Standouts from Haverford-Lawrenceville
Wills Burt ’23, midfield, Haverford / Mesa – NLF No. 37 ’23 (Highlights)
Burt was expected to make an impact as a freshman, but he’s definitely doing so in his first varsity season for the Fords. He scored a pair of goals less than two minutes apart at the end of the first half to bolster Haverford’s lead to 5-2, and in doing so, showed the traits that will make him a 9.1 recruit for a lot of elite programs. He took his SSDM matchup midfield to the woodshed by beating him down the righty alley and launching a screamer of a high-to-high rip. On the next possession, he worked on the other side and finished off a rollback in style. With Holmes and Cornell-bound senior Michael Bozzi next to him, Burt’s going to get a lot of those SSDM matchups, and that’s bad news for opponents. He’s so explosive that he can give any defender fits.
“Coach Dawson talked to us about that a lot this year. If you know you’ve got what you want as a matchup – I love my righty down the alley – if I see that, I’m going to take that every time no matter what,” Burt said. “I don’t care if it’s a short stick or a long stick. … If we see those matchups, we’re going to take it every game.”
Chuck Cacciutti ’22, goalie, Haverford / Mesa / Penn (Highlights)
Cacciutti is the uncontested starter for the Fords, and the future Quaker was on his game Saturday. He made a handful of highlight-reel saves, including a great save on the near pipe on a Jack Reichert (Utah) shot off of a nifty Matia pass. His finest one, however, came on Kilrain, who thought he had an empty net on a broken play in transition, only to be denied by a sliding Cacciutti. You can definitely hear Cacciutti on any defensive possession as he’s not afraid to bark out to his defense to keep everyone in line.
“It’s definitely a big thing to get the first couple of saves to get the jitters out. From there, the energy was super high, which helped a lot.” Cacciutti said. “I’ve had a couple of those saves (similar to the Kilrain one) in my career, so why not just make another one? I ran in from the right side, slid in and it hit me in the stomach. The big thing with our team is the mentality: 0-0 at all times, and the foot never comes off the gas.”
Will Costin ’22, defense, Haverford / Mesa (Highlights)
Costin did an excellent job of quietly helping Haverford’s defense keep Lawrenceville’s Canadian-influenced offense that’s heavy on two-man game at bay. He did a very nice job of moving off ball and cutting off angles and made smart decisions in the clearing game. He makes up for his lack of elite speed by thinking the game two steps ahead of everyone else, and he had a particularly nice knockdown on a pass in transition that would have otherwise handed the Big Red a 2v1 on the crease.
Adam Greenfield ’21, faceoff, Haverford / HEADstrong Lehigh Valley (Highlights)
Greenfield was a major reason why the Fords were able to turn a 2-2 tie into an 11-2 lead, winning 14 of 18 scraps, including a ridiculous 10-win stretch. He was able to use his hand speed to win most of the clamps, and he was particularly good at involving his wing men in the faceoffs. Greenfield’s perfect pop to a streaking Holmes got the future Terp going with a head of steam to set up Holmes’ first goal of the game. Greenfield competed hard for ground balls and got his fair share, and he made quick, smart decisions with the ball in his stick.
Tyler Mininno ’22, defense, Lawrenceville / Freedom / Harvard (Highlights)
The lefty already looks the part of a college defenseman, and he was a big reason why Haverford’s offense had to run through their midfield. Mininno stood up a number of dodgers in their tracks, using his strength and footwork to keep attackmen at bay. He’s got an active stick and stayed low in his stance, which allowed him to use his strength to rebuff the Fords’ attackmen’s attempts. His tenacity and aggressiveness also stand out.
Timmy Piacentini ’24, goalie, Lawrenceville / Tri-State (Highlights)
The lefty freshman more than held his own in the Big Red cage, tossing aside five first-quarter shots to highlight an 11-save outing. He had a couple of excellent low saves, fluidly dropping and making the stops look easy. Piacentini also did a solid job in the clearing game, preferring the short, safe outlet passes, and he’s just starting to scratch the surface of his potential.
Haverford 11, Lawrenceville 5
Lawrenceville 1 1 0 3 — 5
Haverford. 2 3 1 5 — 11
Chris Matia 2 goals
Jack Scoma 1 goal
William Upchurch 1 goal
Hunter Chauvette 1 goal
Trevor Mackles 3-for-12 faceoffs
Lucas Osborne 1-for-6 faceoffs
Timmy Piacentini 11 saves
Geordy Holmes 4 goals
Quintin Campbell 2 goals
Wills Burt 2 goals
Nolan Cooleen 1 goal, 1 assist
Michael Bozzi 1 goal
Avi Mehl 1 goal
Teddy Malone 1 assist
Adam Greenfield 14-for-18 faceoffs
Chuck Cacciutti 11 saves