The game was added to the schedule like a sixth toe. The Haverford School had been slated to play Culver Academies from Indiana earlier in the spring, but nothing was played. So the Indiana lax powerhouse came to the Main Line after the Fords had won the Inter-Ac title and the Pennsylvania Independent Schools tournament, and also had posted a pristine 25-0 record.
Talk about an anticlimax.
For one half, Haverford played as if the game didn’t matter. So what if an undefeated season was at stake? Culver jumped to a 6-3 lead at intermission. “It was scary,” recalls senior midfielder Dox Aitken. “We’d worked so hard, and we deserved to be undefeated, but we were down at halftime. We asked ourselves, ‘What’s going on?’ But I knew in my heart we would come back. We were resilient, and we trusted each other.”
Haverford throttled Culver in the second half, earning a 13-9 win that secured the team’s No. 1 national ranking—its second in five years. It was a perfect example of the program head coach John Nostrant has built. During his 24 years at the school, Haverford has won 423 games (at press time), two state titles (before the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association took over prep lacrosse in the state; the school isn’t a member), five Pennsylvania Independent Schools tournaments, 13 Inter-Ac titles and the aforementioned two national crowns.
The school routinely produces Division I college players, and its JV squad would easily beat many schools’ varsity units. A three-time All-American at Washington College, a D-III school in Maryland, Nostrant has built a program so consistently excellent that it’s to the point where getting playing time is tough for even some top talent. It’s nice problem to have, but a condition that has its downside.
“In some ways, we’re victims of our own success,” says Nostrant. “Some kids don’t want to come here in ninth grade because they can’t play right away. Others see our success and the school’s academics, and want to be here, because it’s the whole package.”