Malvern Prep advances to lacrosse finals

Malvern Prep's Ryan Hilburn (right) goes airborne to score off a rebound against Lawrenceville en route to a 14-5 victory Friday.
Malvern Prep's Ryan Hilburn (right) goes airborne to score off a rebound against Lawrenceville en route to a 14-5 victory Friday. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 18, 2014

The scoreboard clock to the left of Carson Cocco ticked to zero on Friday night - making official yet another Malvern Prep boys' lacrosse win. Coco's teammates rushed toward their goalie and huddled after easing past Lawrenceville, 14-5, in the semifinals of the Inter-Ac Invitational at Cabrini College.

Winning has been the norm for the Friars (23-0 overall) and they have a chance on Monday night to finish their undefeated season in the Invitational's final. Friday was Malvern's 10th win by nine goals or more. They are the area's top team and are ranked third in the nation by Lacrosse Magazine.

"It's just something that we deal with," said senior Greg Pelton. "We're not in the locker room saying 'We're undefeated right now.' It's not really something we focus on."

Pelton scored twice and fortified Malvern's defense after falling behind, 2-0, early in the first quarter. He said his team remained confident. And they played with poise, outscoring Lawrenceville (11-9) by nine goals in the second quarter.

Ryan Hilburn scored five goals and was named game MVP. His teammates call him "Sparky," a nickname earned from his style of play in a West Chester youth football league. He sparked Malvern in the second quarter, scooping up a Pelton rebounder and diving around the goalie to score.

"I was pretty hungry today, and luckily I was hitting my shots," said Hilburn, who is bound for Boston University.

Charles Kelly, one of the area's premier faceoff specialists, won 22 of his 23 draws. The junior's play kept Malvern's powerful offense on the attack and allowed it to score five times within 2 minutes, 19 seconds in the second quarter.

"Chuck does an amazing job," Pelton said. "He makes my job easier. When we're getting possession like that, it totally changes the game."

Coco finished with 10 saves. The senior allowed just three goals after the two early scores.

He and his teammates broke their huddle, returned to the sideline and gathered their equipment off the bench.

The team took a knee in a circle, praying in unison to "Our Lady of Victory." One more victory and the Friars will be perfect.

Malvern Prep 1 10 2 1 - 14

Lawrenceville 2 1 1 1 - 5

Goals: M-Ryan Hilburn 5, Greg Pelton 2, Kyle Anderson 3, Tripp Traynor 1, Conor Glancy 1, Drew Schantz 1, Greg Goldner 1; L-Reilly Hupfeldt 1, Nolan DeMarco 1, Jamieson DeMarco 1, Stephen Clarke 1, Jon Coffey 1.

Saves: M-Carson Cocco 10; L-Griffin Thompson 13, Nate Cornblatt 3.


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