by Tom Utescher
If the Chestnut Hill Academy Blue Devils had scored at the start of the second quarter last Tuesday, their lacrosse match against visiting Episcopal Academy might have taken a different turn.
CHA was trailing the Churchmen 3-0 after the opening period, but a quick goal in the second round would’ve gotten the Devils right back into the game. Instead, EA pumped in three goals in the first 90 seconds of the quarter to seize a daunting 6-0 advantage.
Junior attack Kyle Espenshade got the hosts on the board in the final two minutes of the first half, but CHA still trailed 6-1 at the intermission and ultimately succumbed, 9-3.
Episcopal, which had not beaten an Inter-Ac League opponent coming into the game, headed home with an overall record of 4-7. The contest produced a 5-7 mark for Chestnut Hill, which is playing each of the other Inter-Ac squads once this year, instead of engaging in the official double round of league games.
The weather was unseasonably warm, but a welcome breeze wafted across CHA’s Talbot Field for Tuesday’s tilt. No one scored for more than seven minutes, with the Churchmen spending only a little more time in possession of the ball than the Devils.
With 4:35 to go in the opening stanza, Tyler Haab’s feed from behind the cage set up Dutch Buckley in front of the net for Episcopal’s initial goal. Two minutes later, Tyler O’Dell scooped up a ground ball to the right of the crease and drove in for a second score. EA won the face-off again and soon was up 3-0. Here, the rebound of a shot by Connor Haab was recovered by Garrett Walling, who then assisted Buckley on his second goal of the afternoon with 2:09 on the clock.
The visitors has scored their first three goals in a span of less than two-and-a-half minutes, and for stretches during the first quarter the Devils had held their own against Episcopal. Unfortunately for the home fans, the Churchmen got off another quick burst at the start of the second period.
After Ian Strain made it 4-0 just 25 seconds into round two, the visitors snatched the ball off the following face-off and scored 10 seconds later. This was O’Dell’s second marker of the afternoon, and it wasn’t long before he completed a hat trick, giving his squad a 6-0 lead with 10:37 still left in the first half.
Chestnut Hill finally rippled the net at the far end of the field with 1:43 remaining before the break. Veering between a pair of defenders, CHA’s Espenshade lost his footing, but was still able to get off a successful shot to end the Devils’ drought.
Only two goals were added during the third quarter, both for Episcopal. Connor Haab found the net with an assist from his brother, Tyler, then Sam Lawlor cut across the front of the crease to make it 8-1 for the start of the final frame.
The Churchmen had not suffered a single penalty up to this point (CHA only had one), but the flags started to appear for Episcopal in the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils actually had an 11-second window when two EA players were in the box at once, and Espenshade didn’t waste the opportunity, firing the home team’s second goal with 8:45 to go in the game.
The visitors successfully killed a subsequent penalty, then reached their final total for the day when Marco Testaiuti bumped the score to 9-2 with 5:29 remaining. Episcopal was done scoring, but wasn’t finished fouling, meriting one last penalty with 3:50 on the ticker. The Devils netted their closing goal 26 seconds later, when Clint Sanders penetrated from the left and put a shot past EA keeper Tyler Morrell (five saves).
Senior Corbin Booker made eight stops in goal for Chestnut Hill.