From the lacrosse field to the wrestling ring, Episcopal and Malvern have consistently presented a challenge to The Haverford School. The Episcopal rivalry itself was born in 1889 when the two football teams met for the first time. Since then, Haverford and EA have formed the rivalry now known as EA Day, which culminates the fall sports season. Originally just football, EA Day saw soccer added in 1910, cross country in 1965, water polo in 2002, and golf in 2011. The sweater was introduced in 1980 with Episcopal taking it home, but Haverford has won the majority since.
But many say that Malvern has replaced tradition with competition. This competition has manifested itself in high-attendance games such as the contest on October 21. With one of the largest student sections the school has seen in recent years, the Fords watched their football team take on Malvern. The lacrosse rivalry with Malvern has also seen high attendance rates. The seemingly annual state tournament has turned into a landmark event for the spring season. Students and alumni will fill college campuses to catch two of the best lacrosse teams in the nation take each other on.
Student body President Asa Winikur said, “I think both rivalries carry a different and unique history. I think it’s fair to say the Malvern rivalry tends to get more heated. Malvern embraces ‘the bad guy role’ more than EA, in my opinion. The EA rivalry is special because of the tradition.”
That special tradition can also be felt by the underclassmen.
“For the high schoolers, you probably are more angry going into a Malvern game, but for the younger guys the sweater is the pinnacle of Haverford athletics,” Winikur said.
Athletic Director Michael Murphy contrasts tradition and competition.
“Traditionally EA and Haverford have been the main rivalry because of the day given to that rivalry. I do think over the years though, a lot of the larger sports such as football and lacrosse have become more competitive with Malvern.”
“I would say it’s the EA rivalry, given the sweater.”Athletic Director Mr. Michael Murphy
For most, the sweater still stands as the greatest prize in school athletics. Many students’ fathers and grandfathers played in games against EA, which is reflected in large alumni turnout at EA Day. Malvern however, is the only other all-boys school in the Inter-Academic League. They are often the team that poses the greatest threat to a league title.
Although both rivalries garner a different kind of respect, a majority of students believe EA is still Haverford’s biggest rival.
“Overall, I would say it’s the EA rivalry, given the sweater,” Mr. Murphy said. “In certain sports, however, like lacrosse, the level of competition makes Malvern our biggest rival.”