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Though junior long stick midfielder Connor Keating has thrived for Penn men's lacrosse, he and a quartet of his current teammates dominated together as high school teammates at national powerhouse Haverford.

Credit: Pranay Vemulamada

“Preparing Boys for Life.”

That is the motto of the Haverford School, an elite preparatory day school on the Philadelphia Main Line that has funneled top-end lacrosse players to Penn and across the country.

Almost everyone who plays on Haverford’s varsity lacrosse team moves on to the collegiate level. Notable alums include former Johns Hopkins All-American attackman Kyle Wharton, former Maryland All-American defenseman Goran Murray and current Penn State superstar attackman Grant Ament.

In fact, at Haverford, many Division I commits do not even start or receive significant playing time due to the consistent depth of the roster each year. Each year, more than half the team will be committed to a D-I program, with the other half on track to commit.

In total, five players on the Penn roster attended The Haverford School. They include freshman midfielder Keyveat Postell, freshman goalie Alex deMarco, sophomore defenseman Noah Lejman, junior All-American long stick midfielder Connor Keating and junior midfielder and attackman Reilly Hupfeldt.

Keating has been the creme de la creme of the bunch. He was an All-American last year and has been a dominant force at LSM since stepping onto campus. This season, he has six goals in seven games. He often jumpstarts the offense while also being tasked with guarding the opponent’s top offensive threat.

DeMarco is one of the most talented goalies in the country, but with sophomore Reed Junkin standing on his head this season, it’s been hard for him to see any playing time.

Lejman started five games last season as a freshman and was on the 2016 U.S. U-19 World Cup team. Though struggling with an injury this season, he is tremendous talent who will look to break into a consistent starting spot after Penn loses a senior-laden defense to graduation.

Hupfeldt was a captain at Haverford despite not receiving All-American status. That did not stop him from earning first team All-IAC his senior season. He is currently enjoying his best season with the Quakers, ranking fourth on the team in points.

Postell, the other Haverford alum not to receive All-American honors, needed more time to reach his potential, having spent two years on Haverford’s JV team. But after breaking out late, he’s parlayed his success into early playing time with three starting nods as a freshman and looks to be a key cog for the Quakers moving forward.

Needless to say, Haverford is not just producing players who make it to D-I lacrosse, but players who can get on the field and contribute.

“The strong competition we faced at Haverford prepared me to play at a place like Penn,” Postell said, reflecting back on his experience. “l see a lot of the kids I played against in high school on the teams I play against at Penn.”

Keating reiterated Postell’s sentiments:

“I think that kids from Haverford have been fortunate to experience coaches and teachers like Coach Nostrant. When you’re around the best, it is difficult to pursue anything else.”

The relationship Penn coach Mike Murphy has built with Haverford has reaped huge rewards. This relationship largely stems from his friendship with Nostrant, a Philadelphia lacrosse titan.

“I have known Coach Nostrant for decades, have the utmost respect for him and his staff, and consider him a good friend,” Murphy said.

Murphy also seeks Haverford because Philadelphia is a lacrosse hotbed, and the school is the face of Philly lacrosse. The Fords have won seven straight IAC titles, an incredible feat considering the talent of the league.

“Philadelphia has been one of our top priorities in the recruiting,” Murphy said. “So with the proximity and the match of our criteria, Haverford has been a no brainer for us.”

Murphy’s baseline criteria is simple: “good player, good student, and good person.” Luckily for Penn lacrosse, Haverford instills that in almost all of its student-athletes.

“Haverford athletics and academics taught me that mediocrity was unacceptable and to strive to be the best on and off the field,” Keating said. “Coaches and teachers alike at Haverford made it easy for me to choose a place where I could continue to pursue both.”

The combination of athletics and high caliber academics has been a theme in why many Haverford lacrosse players matriculated to Penn. “The boys want a superior education and a chance to compete at a high level on the lacrosse field,” Nostrant said. “Having known Coach Murphy for a long time, it makes things easier in the recruiting process.”

Besides their familiarity with each other, their similar coaching styles has also been a factor in getting Haverford players to Penn.

“Coach Nostrant and Coach Murphy both have high expectations of their players,” Postell said. “They know what everyone is capable of, and demand the best each player has to offer. They are true competitors and veterans of the game.”

Another factor that led many players to come to Penn was the prior success of fellow Fords, which was especially the case for Hupfeldt.

“My brother [Chris Hupfeldt] and his best friend [Joe Mccallion] chose to play at Penn together and this made for a great environment for me.”

In the future, look for more Haverford lacrosse alums to have an immediate impact at Penn. With the success and accolades of the current crop, a precedent has been set for more players to make the short trip up the Schuylkill Expressway from the Main Line to Penn.

Murphy summed up the plan best: “we will continue to recruit Haverford players.”