For the defending Suburban One Continental Conference champions, the season may have not gotten started on top, but it certainly got started in the right direction.

Going against a very talented Garnet Valley team, the Hatters came out and played a strong game and showed Hatboro-Horsham coach John Kurek what he wanted to see.

"We need that kind of effort every night,' Kurek said.

The final result was a 9-8 Garnet Valley win over the Hatters in a non-conference meeting at Hatboro-Horsham on Friday night, but Kurek said his team's performance was very impressive in what was the first game of the 2014 season.

The Hatters trailed 6-3 in the third quarter and got back to within one goal before going back-and-forth with the Jaguars (1-0, 0-0), but they could never get the equalizer and eventually left with the one-goal loss after Garnet Valley ran the clock out in the final minute.

"Garnet Valley is a great program,' Kurek said. "They do all the little things right and they always fight from the very first minute to the last minute. They pulled out a one-goal win and hats off to them. Maybe we'll see them again, but we wish them best of luck. It was close the whole way, but we just couldn't get that last one.'

Coming off a season in which the Hatters went 15-4 overall and 12-0 in conference play, H-H returned a good amount of its team this year, including seniors Nick Paci, Jake Cresta and Marc Poust, among others.

Paci had the best game of any player for Hatboro-Horsham on Friday, scoring a game-high five goals in the losing effort.

"Nick did a great job. He's the type of kid who we moved from defense to offense and he committed the entire offseason to work a lot on his offense and it showed tonight how much work he put in.'

Poust was solid in the cage for Hatboro-Horsham despite taking the loss.

Next up for the Hatters is a home game against Central Bucks East on Tuesday in the opening of Continental Conference play.

"What I wanted to see was how the guys came together with our defense and our senior leaders and they did a great job of that,' Kurek said. "Garnet Valley is very talented and our young guys came together and played the best they can. I'm proud of them for the work they do. There are no teams in our league that we can lay down against. We have to put this kind of effort every time we step out on the field to put a name to us. Everyone wants to get in and we'll have to do that when we get out on the field on Tuesday.'