by Tom Utescher
In their last non-league contest before opening the Inter-Ac campaign at Penn Charter this week, the Blue Devils of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy filled the net of Father Judge High School last Saturday morning, receiving goals from eight different players as they turned back the visiting Crusaders, 17-1.
SCH improved to 6-1, and won its sixth game in a row after starting out with a setback against Virginia’s St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School, which is number five in the latest national computer rankings. Father Judge took away a 1-3 record from last weekend’s encounter.
Scoring multiple goals for the Blue Devils were sophomore Zach Messerle, with five goals, senior Chris Caldwell and sophomore Brendan Clark with three apiece, and freshman Mac McLaughlin, with two goals. There were single strikes from senior Mac McHugh, sophomores Jack Lamb and Matt Rahill, and freshman C.J. Sweitzer, while in the goalcage senior Matt Eckles was called upon to make just three saves.
The weather was sunny with temperatures in the 50’s, but blustery winds swept away any papers and caps that weren’t secured, and sent tremors through the videographer’s tower and its occupant. It would’ve been easy to believe that this was early March, not early April. Aside from the chill, play on the field was largely unaffected, except when long passes were launched too high into the air.
A little over two minutes into the game, Father Judge picked up the first of a number of penalties, and nine seconds after that McLaughlin had Springside Chestnut Hill on the scoreboard. The Crusaders got through a second man-down stint, but with 7:32 to go in the first quarter Blue Devils senior Michael Bown passed the ball from behind the cage to set up a goal by Lamb. Messerle’s first of the day followed half-a-minute later.
This time the visitors responded, winning the face-off and sprinting right down to goal for a marker by Sean Evans. That made it a 3-1 affair with 6:51 still remaining in the first period, but this would be the only goal that Judge scored against Eckles and his primary defensive unit of Rahill, senior Nick Lawlor, and sophomore Jordan Young.
SCH got going again as Clark assisted on a marker by Messerle on a slanting cut off the right post. Later, a shot hit the Crusaders’ keeper, and he didn’t immediately notice that the ball fell at his feet. It stayed put until he found it through, and the count was still 4-1 at the close of the quarter.
After the visiting netminder received a two-minute respite at the start of the second round, Blue Devils senior Mac McHugh started the hosts off on a five-goal, four-minute outburst to make it 9-1. Clark found the net twice and Messerle once during this spree, and a hearty cheer was given to Rahill as he rambled up from the defensive end to score.
In the final three-and-a-half minutes before the intermission, Caldwell split the pipes twice, first scoring while Judge was a man down for slashing, and then with the teams even-up once more.
Another penalty on the visitors late in the second quarter carried over into the third period, but this time their defense held. SCH’s Messerle, who had recorded a hat trick during the first two quarters, deposited his fourth goal a little over two minutes into the new half. The same player who had cost the Crusaders a man-down goal in the second quarter was now sent to the box again for slashing. The result was the same, with the hosts cashing in thanks to Clark, who received a pass across the front of the goal from Lamb.
In the middle of the period, the officials’ whistles found the Blue Devils, who were called for delay of game and then for slashing. They maintained their 13-1 lead during this shorthanded stretch. There was now a running clock thanks to SCH’s 12-goal lead, a welcome development for windblown onlookers.
In the final minute, Lamb set up Caldwell’s third goal for the home team, which carried a 14-1 advantage into the fourth frame. Playing methodically so as not to run up the score, the Blue Devils finished up with goals by Messerle, McLaughlin, and Sweitzer in the final quarter.