PressBox's weekly high school lacrosse e-mail, written by Tom Peace, will be bringing you all the best in local lacrosse -- boys and girls, private and public schools, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Check it out, pass it on and tell us what you think.
Let The Games Begin
The month of March is here, and local high school lacrosse teams have already begun their 2014 campaigns. Two MIAA powerhouses, Loyola Blakefield and McDonogh, traveled up to Philadelphia to face Penn Charter and Haverford. The defending champion Dons faced Penn Charter March 7, and they appeared to not have lost a step from a year ago, winning, 7-1, behind two goals from Jack Lombardo and a strong defensive performance. McDonogh battled Haverford March 8, and the Eagles came out victorious, 13-8. Goalie Jacob Stover, son of former Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover, made nine saves for McDonogh.
Can The Eagles Remain Perfect?
The McDonogh girls' lacrosse team will head to Florida next week for spring break to begin their 2014 season. But this isn't a vacation trip for the top team in the nation. The Eagles are riding a 91-game winning streak into what may be the toughest three-game stretch of their season.
McDonogh will face Vero Beach of Florida; Georgetown Visitation of Washington, D.C.; and Harriton of Pennsylvania, and all three are ranked in the top 20 national polls. That trio had a combined 62-8 record in 2013. Vero Beach has five seniors committed to college, Harriton has four and Georgetown Visitation has three. All three are primed to deliver an upset, but the Eagles have proven throughout their winning streak they can beat top teams. It's going to be interesting in this case, because McDonogh has to face three tough teams during a three-day span to kick off its season.
Boys' Results From Last Week
March 7: Loyola Blakefield (Md.) 7, Penn Charter (Pa.) 1
March 7: Calverton (Md.) 9, St John's (D.C.) 8
March 8: McDonogh (Md.) 13, Haverford (Pa.) 8
March 8: Bullis (Md.) 7, Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 6 -- OT
Girls' Results From Last Week
March 11: Bullis (Md.) 20, St. John's (D.C.) 12
Boys' Schedule For This Week
March 13: Hill Academy (Canada) vs. Calvert Hall (Md.)
March 13: Landon (D.C.) vs. Calverton (Md.)
March 14: DeMatha (D.C.) vs. St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.)
March 18: Lake Highland Park (Fla.) vs. McDonogh (Md.)
Girls' Schedule For This Week
March 16: Collegiate (Va.) vs. Roland Park (Md.)
March 18: St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.) vs. Holy Cross (Md.)
Q&A: St. Paul's Junior Attacker Sara Moeller
PressBox: How is practice going so far?
Sara Moeller: Practice is going really well so far. We had the first three days of tryouts inside on our basketball courts and have had previous practices on them, too, because of the snow and cold weather. But we had to deal with it and make the best of it. We lost a lot of really good seniors, and we are working really hard and trying to find the right players to follow their lead and take their spots. It is intense at times, but we are always learning. We have fun, but when it is time to work hard and get stuff done ... we get it done.
PB: What did you learn from last season's loss to McDonogh during the IAAM title game that will help this year's squad?
SM: We have to work as a team and be positive if we want to be a successful team this season. We also can't crumble under pressure or let up when we think we have the game in the bag. We were ahead of McDonogh, but they scored a couple quick goals, and they got the best of us. Everyone is their own worst enemy on the field. We strive to be perfect, but that just won't happen. We need to shake off our mistakes and make it up on the next play. The game is 90 percent mental and 10 percent skill. You need the mentality in order to create the skill, to run the right plays, catching the ball and cradling down the field or even riding end line to end line. We can't think of anything else around us except the game we are about to play in. We can't under- or overestimate a team. Anything could happen, and we have to be ready. Just relax and play the game.
PB: How does the rest of the conference shape up this year?
SM: The IAAM A Division is the hardest league out there. Every team in the A Division deserves to be in it, because they are a great team. Bryn Mawr, NDP, Maryvale and McDonogh are going to be hard for everyone this season. Maryland is the lacrosse powerhouse on the East Coast, probably the whole U.S., and the sport is only just growing. Every team is new this year, and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and other teams are going to have to find a way to exploit them. It will be hard, but teams will be able to do it.
PB: What do you love most about playing lacrosse for SPSG?
SM: I love that everyone is playing for the love of the game. Everyone comes to practice with a great attitude, and we are always ready to compete and play. The captains and teammates are always there for each other, and we are positive with one another. We come to practice each and every day because we want to get better and strive for another step to the championship.
PB: How has the transition been to a new head coach this season?
SM: The transition was sudden, but smooth. All of the players are going through their freshman year right now -- new coach, new team. None of us knew what to expect when coach Courtney [Connor] walked onto the field the first day of practice. Some of the returning players knew what to expect from coach Tommy [McClelland] and coach Brooke McClelland, but that wasn't the case this year. Things happen for a reason, but we need to cope with it and deal with it. Our expectations were crushed. Coach Courtney has an incredible knowledge for the game and skill level. She has coached at an elite level, at UMBC and Mount St. Mary's, and is getting us ready to play at a higher level. Her expectations are high for us this year because of how successful we were last year. Coach Courtney pushes us during practice and is making us the best we can be. She is intense, but we need that kick in the rear end to get us going and motivated. SPSG has a great lacrosse program, and the coaches and players created a hard-working and championship-caliber team, but with coach Courtney as a new coach, she will even take it higher. Leave your legacy.
Crabs / PressBox Boys' Top 20
- Boys' Latin
- Loyola Blakefield (1-0)
- Georgetown Prep (1-0)
- St. Paul's (0-1)
- McDonogh (1-0)
- Calvert Hall (2-0)
- Landon (1-0)
- St. Mary's Annapolis
- South River
- Paul VI (0-1)
- Gonzaga (1-0)
- Bullis (1-0)
- Mount St. Joseph (1-0)
- Kent Island
- Severn (1-0)
Crabs / PressBox Girls' Top 20
- St. Stephen's & St. Agnes
- St. Paul's
- Good Counsel
- Georgetown Visitation
- Notre Dame Prep
- Marriotts Ridge
- Bryn Mawr
- Mt. Hebron
- Bishop Ireton
- South River
- Severna Park
- Queen Anne's
- John Carroll
- Winters Mill
- Maryvale Prep
- Mount de Sales
The Crabs/PressBox polls are sponsored by Crabs Lacrosse and compiled by Tom Peace.
Featured College Commitments
Georgetown Prep goalie Will Railey -- University of Virginia
Archbishop Spalding defender Daniel Barber -- U.S. Naval Academy
Bullis long-stick midfielder Alex Robinson -- Georgetown University
Glenelg goalie Megan Taylor -- University of Maryland
Hereford attacker Maria Collacchi -- University of Cincinnati
Stephen Decatur goalie Jillian Petitio -- Mount St. Mary's University
Mercy midfielder Molly Tobias -- Kennesaw State University
Mount St. Joseph attacker/midfielder Shawn Carter -- Mercer University
Calvert Hall attacker Jason Brown -- U.S. Military Academy