By Jimmy Boyle
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 3/23/13
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Culver Military Academy (IN) showed a little rust as it opened a season of high promise Saturday night at Inter-Ac League power Episcopal Academy (PA).
But persistent offensive pressure eventually gave the Eagles an impressive 11-7 victory.
Zach Currier found himself trapped between two defenders and began to fall as he approached the crease, but as he fell, the senior midfielder had the sense to flip the ball over his back shoulder for a highlight-reel goal late in the game.
The tally was Currier’s third of the day, and it all but sealed the Eagles’ victory. He also had two assists.
“I broke the double, and I was trying to get a shot off,” said the Princeton-bound Currier, who is from Peterborough, Ontario. “I tried to backhand it, kinda got spun around. It was a pretty awkward looking shot. But it seemed to go in, so sometimes it goes your way.”
It might have felt awkward to Currier, but the goal looked impressive from the sidelines.
Culver head coach Jon Posner said he has come to expect that kind of thing from the Ontario native.
“This is his fourth year with us,” said Posner. “And he’s probably single-handedly one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen … he knows how to make plays and put the team on his back.
“To be able to come into Philly, which I think is the top area for high school lacrosse … and come away with a win is huge for us,” said Posner of EA, which was the Inter-Ac Invitational champion last year and entered the season ranked in all national polls.
Culver, which had its first two games of the season canceled, was anxious to get the season started.
“We were nervous, we were chomping at the bit,” said Posner. “Having those first two games canceled, that’s kind of where we get our nerves out, we were nervous, we were excited by all means, but we’ve only had three game of practice.
“This is probably the most talented group,” Posner added. “It’s still yet to be seen what they can accomplish… Our program is relatively young; we have the most talent we’ve ever had. The expectations are high on this group, but it’s to be determined.”
Culver sophomore Dawson McKenzie also scored a hat trick.
Episcopal (1-3) came out strong in the opening minutes of play, but saw its early lead slip away early in the second half.
Faceoff specialist Matt Ernst won the first three draws for the Churchmen, helping give them the early advantage in possession. Episcopal won 12 of 21 faceoffs.
Curtis Zappala (three goals) opened the scoring with an unassisted goal at the 5:21 mark of the first quarter, followed by two more goals in quick succession from Ian Strain (two goals) and Trupert Ortileb (two goals).
Strain scored again in the first half, carrying the ball from midfield and beating Culver goalie Michael Calvello.
The turning point of the contest came about halfway through the third quarter when junior midfielder Joel Tinney (two goals) tied things up at five apiece. Then, Currier, who had been held scoreless up until that point, got a shot past Episcopal goalie Colin Reder and put Culver up for good.
“I was pretty pleased with the way we played today,” said Currier. “Obviously we were going to be running off adrenaline there, stoked to get back on the field … Our coach is pretty pleased with the way we played. It’s a great team that we just layer so hats off to them. They played a great game.”
Episcopal did get the score to within one with 1:18 remaining in play when Ortileb scored off an assist from Curtis Zappala. But four straight Culver goals sent the Eagles home with a win.
Culver Academy (IN) 11, Episcopal Academy (PA) 7
Goals: Zach Currier 3, Dawson McKenzie 3, Joel Tinney 2, P.J. Bogle, Dean Ferris, Riley Thompson
Assists: Zach Currier 2, Pierre Bryne 2, Zach Main, P.J. Bogle, Riley Thompson
Saves: Michael Calvello 6
Goals: Curtis Zappala 2, Trupert Ortlieb 2, Ian Strain 2, Tyler Chambers 1
Assists: Curtis Zappala, Tyler Chambers
Saves: Colin Reder 4