BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — St. Augustine Prep lacrosse coach J.C. Valore is adamant about playing a challenging schedule because it helps develop his team and prepare it for the postseason.

This spring, St. Augustine scheduled many tough games, including three against teams from the talented Inter-Academic League in Pennsylvania.

One of those nonconference games resulted in a 16-7 loss to Malvern Prep on Tuesday. But the lessons may enhance the Hermits’ overall performance, especially as they approach the state Non-Public A playoffs.

Earlier this month, St. Augustine (8-2) lost to Penn Charter. The Hermits will host Germantown Academy on May 8.

“Well, there is a lot of value in playing the teams that we play,” Valore said. “We can have a season like we’ve been having so far, (like) working hard and doing well, but in some areas we need to learn a little more about ourselves. These teams definitely come out and challenge us to be better versions of ourselves.”

The Friars’ Nick Potemski scored 34 seconds into the game. Malvern (11-5) soon had a 3-0 lead.

But the Hermits’ Logan Hone and Daniel Bennett each scored within two minutes to make it 3-2. Attacker Mikey Vanaman scored late in the first quarter to tie the game.

Vanaman led the team with three assists and two goals.

St. Augustine trailed 8-6 at halftime, but Malvern had six third-quarter goals and shut out the Hermits to lead 14-6 after three quarters.

“It obviously helps playing a team like Malvern,” said Vanaman, 18, of the Sicklerville section of Winslow Township. “And the Non-Public A is one of the toughest conferences in this state, so we’ve got to be ready to work come playoff time, and this is just progression leading up to that.”

St. Augustine had some trouble with its second-half ball possession. The Hermits also failed to clear, which resulted in missed opportunities on offense and more chances for Malvern.

The Hermits next play Pingry at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Martinsville. Last season, St. Augustine beat the Big Blue 10-8 in the season opener.

“I feel like we didn’t bring our A-game today, and they did, so hats off to them,” Vanaman said. “We have to be ready to work at practice. We are obviously putting this game behind us and moving forward.”

David Burr scored one goal and had an assist. Brandon Gibson and Brendan Roth each scored once. Joey Serafine made five saves, and Chris DinDino made three saves.

“You want to get the game out of your mind, but not the occurrence of what you saw and what you can learn from,” Valore said. “We have been through many tough games over the years to know that we have a next-game mentality. But we still have to understand what the setbacks were in this one in order to move forward.”

Malvern Prep;3 5 6 2—16

St. Augustine;3 3 0 1—7

SA: Vanaman (2), Burr, Hone, Gibson, Roth, Bennett.

MP: Civitella (4), Peden (3), Potemski (2), Doyle (2), Jogerst, ,McGill, Spanos, O’Connor, Hueston.

Goalies— Pettit (7) MP; Serafine (5), DinDino (3) SA.

Records— SA 8-2; MP 11-5

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