Kelly and the Friars needed every advantage they could get to overcome a three-year losing streak to Haverford School on Friday afternoon. Malvern won at home, 13-7, as junior Ryan Hilburn scored three goals and his brother, Chris, added two.
Malvern Prep, ranked No. 1 in the area by phillylacrosse.com, improved to 8-1. No. 4 Haverford School dropped to 8-4.
The Friars outscored the Fords, 7-4, in the second half after holding a three-goal lead at halftime. It was Malvern's first win against Haverford School since 2010.
Kelly took all of the 24 face-offs and won 17. With each substitution, Kelly returned to the spot on the sideline where the cooler was and retrieved his stick before running onto the field.
"Faceoff guys are strange," said Matt Mackrides, a Malvern assistant coach. "They need to make sure their sticks are good enough so they can clamp around a ball and they can move in without breaking."
Mackrides played at Malvern from 2004-08 and played in college at Penn State. He said Kelly isn't the first midfielder he has seen do the cooler trick.
"If you clamp on the ball and the stick's not strong enough, you can get overpowered," Mackrides said.
Mackrides said Kelly's work on face-offs was crucial to Malvern's balanced offense, as eight Friars scored on a cloudy day at Quigley Field.
"He did a great job off the whistle, getting clamps and putting the ball where he wanted to put it," Mackrides said.
Senior Gavin McBride led Haverford School with two goals.
Haverford School 2 1 4 0 – 7
Malvern Prep 2 4 4 3 – 13
Goals: HS-Dox Aitken, Grant Ament, Pete Blynn, Connor Keating, Kerry Kynett, Gavin McBride 2; MP-Joe Carlini, Joe Dunn, Conor Glancy, Chris Hilburn 2, Ryan Hilburn 3, Kevin McGeary, Eddie McLoughlin 2, Tommy O'Connor 2.
Saves: HS-Jake Landman 10; MP-Matthew Barrett 14.
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