By James Boyle
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 3/9/13
NEWTOWN, Pa – After a rough start, Sam Beazell proved why he is considered a premier high school goaltender.
The St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes senior shrugged off five first-period goals and then shut down the No. 13 ranked team in the country today as the Saints toppled host Episcopal Academy (Pa.), 8-5 in a season opener for both teams.
Episcopal Academy, the defending Inter-Ac Invitational champion, bolted to a 5-1 edge with the held of three goals by senior midfielder Tyler Chambers (Hobart signee). Then the SS&SA defense, along with stellar work by Beazell took over.
“It’s a testament to him,” said St. Stephen’s head coach Andy Taibl of Beazell, a Loyola signee. “He’s a senior and he got off to a very rough start.
“We felt like he missed a couple that he should have stopped, and I saw him hanging his head a little bit. But he just continued to fight, and as we talk about all the time as a team, and individually, is that you keep working.”
Beazell certainly kept working, and it paid off for the Saints. He finished with 16 saves despite the inauspicious start, including two difficult ones late in the fourth quarter when St. Stephen’s pulled away.
The EA defense of seniors Matthew Robinson, Kevin Gayhardt (Penn) and Dante Addona (St. John’s) stymied the Saints attack at first, but the Saints’ attackers began chipping away at the lead in the second quarter.
Seth Miller got the attack going for the Saints in the second quarter with an early goal, and helped shift the momentum in favor of his team. His third goal tied the game at 5-5 in the third quarter.
Two more Saints goals – both by junior Nate Archer (Cornell) – put the game out of reach.
Archer’s first goal – a weaving run through traffic with the entire Episcopal defense draped on him – somehow found its way into the back of the net. Isaiah Davis-Allen (Maryland signee) and Cory Harris scored St. Stephen’s other two goals.
“It started with the defense. We just played really well and that transitioned to offense,” said Beazell. “The nerves are going and butterflies and whatnot, but I think this was just good to get this out of the way so we can keep moving from here.”‘
The last time these two teams met – March 24 of last season – Episcopal traveled to Virginia and came out on top, 8-4. This time around, it was St. Stephen’s that got to make the trek home after a win and “get a little revenge,” as Beazell put it.
A big reason the Churchmen were so successful early on is because of Matthew Ernst’s success on face-offs. Having backed up All-American Jon Garino last season, it was the junior’s first start for Episcopal, and he made it count. Ernst won six draws in the first half and finished the game with nine.
“I was getting a lot of draws. So, it helped us get the ball, get moving, come out hot right in the first quarter,” said Ernst. “I was just waiting for my spot, my shot to get out and I felt like I did a good job doing that.”
St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) 8, Episcopal Academy 5
Episcopal Academy 5-0-0-0 – 5
SS&SA 1-2-2-3- 8
EA goals: Tyler Chambers 3, Ian Strain 1, George Ortlieb
Assists: Curtis Zappala 1
Saves: Brian Zappala 5
St. Stephen’s goals: Goals: Seth Miller 3, Nate Archer 2, Isaiah Davis-Allen 1, Cory Harris 1, Lian Graham 1
Assists: Joe King 1
Saves: Sam Beazell 16