Talk about timely.
Senior midfielder Carl Walrath scored two goals in the final 36 seconds Wednesday night to rally undefeated Haverford School to a 5-4 victory over Malvern Prep in the first Inter-Academic Invitational championship game at Cabrini College.
With the Fords' dream of finishing the lacrosse season unbeaten, and their top ranking in the country in jeopardy, Walrath scored his first goal of the game to tie the score, 4-4.
Then with nine seconds on the clock, Walrath scored again to thwart Malvern's bid for a huge upset in the season finale for both teams.
"On the first goal, I just got under the goalie," said Walrath, a Virginia-bound attack who finished with 28 goals this season. "The second one, I was lucky.
"It's been a real grind this season. We've played some tough games. This one was the toughest. . . . Malvern is a good team. Even when we beat them twice [during the regular season], they were tough.
"Tonight, I give it to our defense. To hold Malvern to four goals says something."
The Fords, who have been ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN since the preseason, held the Friars scoreless after the first quarter.
"That was a great game," said Haverford coach John Nostrant, whose team had been averaging 11 goals a game. "Malvern had a great game plan."
Malvern jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first 41/2 minutes of the game. The Friars did not score again after Keith Dreyer found the net with 3 minutes, 7 seconds left in the first quarter.
Senior attack T.J. Hanzsche put the Friars on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal with 10:06 to go in the first quarter. Less than a minute later, another senior, Colin Farrell, made it 2-0.
Sophomore midfielder Chris Hilburn boosted the Friars' lead to 3-0 on another unassisted goal.
Haverford (23-0), which didn't get a stick on the ball until 7:13 remained in the opening quarter, finally got on the board with 5:56 left in the period on a goal by Matt Walters, a senior midfielder who has committed to Syracuse.
Grove Stewart, a senior midfielder, put the Fords in a position to tie and win the game when he scored to pull his team to within 4-3 with less than four minutes to play in the third quarter.
Hanzsche said he couldn't explain Malvern's inability to score after the first quarter.
"No. 9 [Walrath] made some great moves," he said. "Our goalies did a great job. We got off quality shots. We just didn't finish."
Malvern Prep 4 0 0 0 – 4
Haverford School 2 0 1 2 – 5
Goals: MP-T.J. Hanzsche, Colin Farrell, Chris Hilburn, Keith Dreyer; HS-Carl Walrath 2, Matt Walters, Brendan McGrath, Grove Stewart.
Saves: MP-Ryan McDevitt 5, Matt Barrett 4; HS-Conor Kelly 6.