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Haverford boys out to sustain lacrosse success

Graduation can make sustained excellence in high school sports difficult to achieve. Just don't expect the rest of the Inter-Ac to weep for the Haverford School lacrosse team.

Graduation can make sustained excellence in high school sports difficult to achieve.

Just don't expect the rest of the Inter-Ac to weep for the Haverford School lacrosse team.

Coming off an undefeated season and a consensus No. 1 national ranking, the Fords return this season minus 22 seniors from last year's talented team.

"Everybody wants to beat Haverford," said senior midfielder Dox Aitken. "That's kind of how it's always been. Obviously, Malvern is good. Penn Charter is getting better, and Episcopal is still good. I kind of expect the same thing: a lot of competitive games and four-quarter dogfights."

The Fords, 1-2 entering Tuesday's schedule, are still talented but have already dropped back-to-back games, leaving coach John Nostrant searching for a feel on this year's team.

"We lost 22 seniors, so some of these seniors are inexperienced," said Nostrant, who is entering his 24th year coaching lacrosse. "But we have enough talent to beat anybody, but we're also a little different from the standpoint of, if we don't come to play, teams on our schedule can beat us, too."

Later he added: "We're shuffling guys around and still trying to figure it out, but I'm not panicking yet."

Perhaps he has at least three reasons to remain calm.

Aitken, who scored 46 goals last year and has committed to Virginia, earned all-America, all-Inter-Ac, and all-Eastern Pennsylvania Lacrosse Coaches Association honors last season.

Forry Smith, a senior attacker who led the Fords with 69 goals last season and has committed to Johns Hopkins, earned all-Inter-Ac and all-EPLCA as a junior.

And Alex Demarco is a senior goaltender headed for Penn next year who was tremendous in the Fords' 15-8 Inter-Ac Challenge victory against the previously undefeated Hun School last season.

"It's kind of hard to come off a season like last year," Smith said. "We had so much success, and we have a lot of younger guys and inexperienced guys who are still trying to figure out what's going on. Just as an older guy, we're just trying to set the tone in practices and hopefully that carries all the way down to the guys."

Look for senior middies Keyveat Postell and Luke Desperito to play bigger roles, along with senior defenseman Andrew Fine and junior middie John Nostrant, the coach's son.

The losses of Grant Ament (Penn State) and Drew Supinski (Hopkins) means Smith and Aitken are the team's elder statesmen, a challenge the duo has accepted.

"It's tougher because last year we had a lot of great leaders," said Aitken. "We had a lot of guys to lean on. I wouldn't say there's less this year, but it's our class now that has to step up and take that role head-on."