By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 3/20/16
HAVERFORD, Pa. – Culver Military Academy (IN) senior Ethan Walker remembered well the feeling 10 months ago on the same field when The Haverford School rallied in the second half to defeat Culver and cap a perfect 26-0 season.
But today, on this cold and blustery rematch game at Haverford, Culver made the comeback and emerged with a thrilling 10-9 overtime victory in a battle of Top 5 teams.
Sophomore Jake Stevens (two goals, two assists) drilled in the game-winner off a feed from Walker with 1:11 left in OT to give the Eagles the win. Culver (4-0) was No. 4 in the recent C2C North America Rankings (the new rankings will be released Monday); The Fords (1-2) were No. 2.
The game-winner came after Haverford had several big scoring chances to open the extra frame following a penalty on Culver late in regulation. Culver senior goalie and Furman signee Alex Van De Bovenkamp (10 saves) made two key saves on Dox Aitken and Forry Smith and Culver called a time out to set up the game-winning possession.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Walker, a senior attackman out of Peterborough, Ontario who is signed with Denver. “We came out on the wrong end last year and just to persevere and win in overtime is an overall great feeling. It’s unbelievable that it happened to us.
“He (Coach Jon Posner) put the Canadians out there and said, ‘Do what you do; freelance!’ It worked last year and this year it’s our go-to (play).”
“It’s a great win all together,” said Stevens, a Cornell commit out of Guelph, Ontario. “Coach brought us in and said, ‘It’s an open set,go and freelance.'”
Haverford, coming off a 16-14 loss to Loyola Blakefield (MD), took an 8-6 early in the fourth period on a goal by Forry Smith (three goals, one assist, Johns Hopkins signee). But Ryan Hallenbeckmade it 8-7 and 2018 Brown commit Austin Madronic (two goals) tied it with 2:55 to play.
Aitken (Virginia signee) and Smith (Johns Hopkins signee) both had three goals and an assist and Alex deMarco (Penn commit) had 10 saves for Haverford, which last lost two straight games in 2013.
“We played better today than we did against Loyola,” said Haverford coach John Nostrant. “We had chances to go up by three (in the fourth period). It was a good high school game; both teams had opportunities.”
Nostrant lost a lot of key players from last year’s team, which was the top-ranked squad in every national poll. He said this year’s team is searching for an identity.
“I can’t remember the last time we lost two straight games,” he said. “That in itself should serve as motivation for us. Our shooting needs to get better and we need to improve our stickwork and we need to get the 50-50 groundballs. We also need to continue to improve defensively.”
Culver’s schedule does not get any easier. It plays Tuesday at No. 5 McDonogh (MD), Wednesday vs. Delaware power Salianum School and Thursday at No. 11 Gonzaga (D.C.).
Culver Academy (IN) 9, Haverford School (PA) 8, OT
Haverford School 4-1-2-1-0- 8
Culver Academy 2-4-0-2-1- 9
Luke Desperito 1g
John Nostrant 1a
Forry Smith 3g, 1a
Keyveat Postell 1a
Dox Aitken 3g, 1a
Tommy McNamara 1a
Austin Helms 1g
Alex deMarco 10 saves
Ethan Walker 3g, 1a
Austin Madronic 2g
Jake Stevens 2g, 2a
William Clayton 1g, 1a
Ryan Hallenbeck 1g
Alec Van De Bovenkamp 10 saves