PressBox's weekly high school lacrosse e-mail, written by Tom Peace, brings 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.
PNC Invitational Wrap-up
The PNC Lacrosse Invitational was a success March 29, despite the rain. Corrigan Sports Enterprises and PNC Bank put on the event, a doubleheader of high school boys' games, starting with Haverford (Pa.) versus St. Paul's (Md.) during the first game, and then Gonzaga (D.C.) versus McDonogh (Md.). A record attendance of 1,023 showed up to brave the rain at Loyola University's Ridley Athletic Complex.
The first game was a thriller, as Haverford came back to beat St. Paul's, 9-8.
The Crusaders opened the game by scoring four in a row during the first quarter. Then, Haverford scored four unanswered goals heading into the fourth quarter. The Fords' defense held St. Paul's scoreless for 26:30. Henry Riehl scored to open the fourth to make it 5-4 in favor of the Crusaders.
But Haverford responded. Both teams traded scores until Forry Smith, who had a three-goal game for Haverford, scored to give the Fords their first lead of the game.
St. Paul's tied it again, but Haverford scored back-to-back goals to go ahead, 9-7. The Crusaders chipped one in with seconds remaining during the game, but didn't have enough time to tie it, and the Fords were victorious. St. Paul's fell to 4-3.
"We gave one away," St. Paul's coach Rick Brocato said. "Give Haverford a lot of credit. Their kids really competed after the first quarter.
"They played zone defense, and our guys got confused and threw it away in the second quarter. We didn't understand, defensively, a big part of their game was jamming the ball inside, and they did that quite a bit.
"I didn't think we moved real well with the ball or without the ball. We didn't throw the ball through X a lot. I am really disappointed, but we have to figure this thing out and come back and play on Tuesday.
"They had some guys injured, but they wanted it more from the end of the first quarter all the way through the rest of the game."
Mikey Wynne, Carter Flaig and Alex McGovern all had two-goal games for the Crusaders during the loss.
St. Paul's got back in the win column with a 15-5 defeat of Bullis (D.C.) April 1, and will start the MIAA season April 4 against St. Mary's Annapolis.
The second game of the PNC Invitational wasn't as suspenseful as the first, as McDonogh came away with a 10-7 win against Gonzaga. The Eagles used a six-goal run to help cap their seventh win this season.
McDonogh had four players with two-goal games -- Robert Clark (three assists), Bobby Austin (one assist), Robby Black (one assist) and Barrett Sutley -- while senior attackman Trey McGee had four assists and a goal for the Eagles.
Gonzaga found the back of the net at the 7:35 mark of the third quarter as Timmy Monahan scored one of his five goals. The Eagles held Gonzaga scoreless for 16:47.
"It was a huge bounce-back win after the loss [to Culver Academy] last week," McGee said. "And now we have to get ready for the MIAA season."
The Eagles will face Severn April 4 to kick off the MIAA season.
The loss to McDonogh was the Purple Eagles' fourth. Casey O'Neil's young team began WCAC league play with an 18-1 win against Bishop Ireton April 1.
Saints Have Something To Prove In 2014
The St. Stephen's & St. Agnes girls' lacrosse team is off to a 9-0 start through the first month of the season.
"The team has worked hard to build chemistry since the graduation of 12 seniors," said coach Kathy Jenkins, who started coaching at SSSA in 1976 and has a record of 646-51-10. "They are playing with heart -- they feel they have something to prove.
"The seniors are all great leaders and are very patient with the younger girls, helping them to understand what the expectations are for a varsity player. We knew we needed to expose the girls to a number of scrimmages and games early in order to give the girls playing experience. It is still a work in progress. We have many things we still need to cover due to the weather and lack of getting on a field."
After a 12-10 win April 1 against NDP (4-2, Md.) of the IAAM, SSSA is averaging 15.89 goals per game and has held its opponents to 4.44 goals per game. On April 5, the Saints will face top teams from the South and Midwest in Milton (8-1, Ga.) and Loyola Academy (4-0, Ill.)
"The girls like competition, so I try to build a schedule to fit the team," Jenkins said. "The IAAM teams are fun to play. We always have competitive games, whether we win or lose. We have built relationships with a number of the Baltimore schools and look forward to those games on our schedule. I am so impressed with the number of outstanding athletes on all the Baltimore teams. Playing these teams helps us gage where we are with our program."
The Saints have plenty of star power all over the field, including Gussie Johns, a senior goalie and four-sport athlete. Kathryn Cavallo and Sarah Goode are leaders on defense. Sophie Davidson, Darby Philbrick and Olivia Mikkelsen are standout midfielders. On attack, watch for Avery Donahue, who is coming back from an injury. Davidson and Johns were named to the roster for a Nike showcase featuring the top 100 high school players in 2013 -- 50 girls and 50 boys.
Jenkins and the Saints are on a mission to win another state championship, but the competition in D.C. will be no walk in the park.
"The girls' game is really growing in the Washington, D.C., area," Jenkins said. "There are so many more competitive teams. Many of the girls are playing club and working on their game year-round. I still feel playing other sports helps the girls to be better lacrosse players. There are so many skills that carry over into helping the girls understand the attacking and defensive skills better."
Boys' Schedule For This Week
April 4: Fallston (Md.) vs. Bel Air (Md.)
April 5: Georgetown Prep (D.C.) vs. Immaculata (N.J.)
April 8: McDonogh (Md.) vs. Loyola Blakefield (Md.)
Girls' Schedule For This Week
April 5: Milton (Ga.) vs. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.)
April 7: McDonogh (Md.) vs. Roland Park (Md.)
April 8: Bishop Ireton (Va.) vs. Good Counsel (Md.)
Boys' Results From Last Week
March 28: Chesapeake (Md.) 12, Severna Park (Md.) 11 OT -- Pat Brennan had a seven-point game (four goals, three assists), including the game-winning overtime goal, for Chesapeake
March 28: Georgetown Prep (D.C.) 10, Gilman (Md.) 7
March 28: Calvert Hall (Md.) 13, Conestoga (Pa.) 8 -- Jack Kinnear scored six goals for Calvert Hall
April 1: St. Paul's (Md.) 15, Bullis (D.C.) 5
Girls' Results From Last Week
March 28: Bryn Mawr (Md.) 9, John Carroll (Md.) 7
March 29: Marriotts Ridge (Md.) vs. Century (Md.) -- postponed
March 29: Winters Mill (Md.) vs. C. Milton Wright (Md.) -- postponed
April 1: St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.) 12, Notre Dame Prep (Md.) 10 -- Goalie Gussie Johns made 15 saves for St. Stephen's & St. Agnes
Q&A: Boys' Latin Head Coach Bob Shriver
PressBox: What is the goal with the out-of-conference games -- to win or come away healthy?
Bob Shriver: One of the things you have to prepare to do when you play in the MIAA is you really can't relax. You have to play consistently hard for 48 minutes. I think we have done that so far. We've played really hard. If anything, let's make sure we learn that lesson that we have to play hard, and we can't relax.
PB: Gonzaga, the top team in D.C., and Hereford, the top Maryland public school team, are on your schedule. In your mind, how much has the game grown in the state?
BS: We played Gonzaga about 10 or 15 years ago, and I think we scored 25 goals, and [we] played them two years ago and lost. They have been the best team in the D.C. area for the last two years. They just surged onto the scene. Some of their veterans graduated, but they have a tremendous group of young kids. They've become a D.C. bellwether, if you will, just like [Georgetown] Prep and Landon have been the past few years. Add St. Stephen's & St. Agnes, Bullis and Paul VI to the mix. The quality of play down there has kind of mirrored what's been going on around here a long time. And Hereford has dominated the public school the last six or seven years. They are clearly the best in the state. [In the past,] we have been trying to schedule them, but they are limited schedule-wise. We feel fortunate we were able to get a game scheduled with them.
PB: What are your thoughts about the MIAA A Conference this season?
BS: My impression going into the conference ... is the same impression I've had for as long as I have been doing this. It's such a great conference. The teams are very good. [Between] the quality of play and the quality of coaching in the MIAA, everybody is just so well prepared. [In] the MIAA, they figure out very quickly what you're good at and what you're not good at, and they try to take away what you're good at and expose what you're bad at. Everybody is very good.
PB: What are your thoughts about losing the MIAA title game last year after going undefeated all season?
BS: There's no doubt that there is some frustration leftover. We had a brilliant year. But give Loyola Blakefield credit. They found some lighting in a bottle. They just didn't beat BL in the playoffs; they beat Gilman and McDonogh, too, so it wasn't like they just hit a home run against BL. It's really hard to go undefeated in our league. If you look at the last 40 years, we have had five undefeated teams. The guys from last year have come into this year and are ready to play, and they have looked past it. A lot of our core guys work extremely hard, and that rubs off on everybody else.
PB: Who are the coaches in other sports, pro or college, you look up to?
BS: As a coach, one of things I do is I try to take something from everybody in every sport and every level that has something to say. I just try to pay attention and put a little bit of everything I read about and see styles of coaching and try to incorporate those things that work and fit within our program. Coaching high school lacrosse isn't like coaching professional football or basketball, or even college lacrosse. It's different. We don't have the time to prepare -- we don't have exhaustive film study and a week to prepare in between opponents -- so you have to take those things that work for you at a certain level.
Crabs / PressBox Boys' Top 20
- Boys' Latin (6-0)
- Georgetown Prep (7-0)
- Calvert Hall (8-1)
- Landon (7-1)
- Gilman (3-2)
- McDonogh (7-1)
- St. Paul's (5-3)
- Gonzaga (6-4)
- Hereford (2-2)
- DeMatha (9-0)
- St. Mary's Annapolis (6-1)
- Loyola Blakefield (4-3)
- Mount St. Joseph (6-2)
- Fallston (1-0)
- Bullis (5-2)
- Kent Island (2-1)
- Severn (5-3)
- Westminster (3-0)
- Bel Air (2-1)
- Churchill (3-0)
Crabs / PressBox Girls' Top 20
- McDonogh (6-0)
- St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (9-0)
- Good Counsel (4-0)
- Marriotts Ridge (6-0)
- Georgetown Visitation (4-2)
- Century (3-0)
- St. Paul's (4-1)
- Mt. Hebron (4-0)
- Notre Dame Prep (4-2)
- Roland Park (5-0)
- Severn (4-2)
- Hereford (4-0)
- Bishop Ireton (4-0)
- Archbishop Spalding (5-4)
- John Carroll (3-3)
- C. Milton Wright (1-1)
- Winters Mill (1-1)
- St. Mary's Annapolis (3-1)
- Severna Park (2-0)
- Huntingtown (5-0)
The Crabs/PressBox polls are sponsored by Crabs Lacrosse and compiled by Tom Peace.
Featured College Commitments
Col. Zadok Magruder midfielder/faceoff specialist Thomas Kidd -- University of Massachusetts Lowell
McDonogh defenseman Grady Hearn -- High Point University
Landon midfielder Riley McTague -- Hobart College
Georgetown Visitation midfielder Hannah Stoever -- San Diego University
Marat School midfielder Courtney Bolden -- Oberlin College
C. Milton Wright midfielder Abby Smucker -- Pennsylvania State University
Urbana attackman Brandon Plante -- Lehigh University
Richard Montgomery midfielder Osebo Akhigbe -- Mount St. Mary's
Bel Air defenseman Brad Barth -- Stevenson University
Chesapeake attacker/midfielder Olivia Smith -- Salisbury University
Garrison Forest midfielder/defender Anna Schaefer -- Rollins College
Mount de Sales attacker/midfielder Angela Fratantuono -- Pfeiffer University