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Anything Is Possible This LAX Season

By Keith Mills

Gilman is the defending champs. Boys' Latin and St. Paul's are the apparent teams to beat. Or is it Calvert Hall and Loyola? Or St. Mary's and McDonogh? The 2010 MIAA A lacrosse season cranks up this week and anything is possible.

Calvert Hall and Loyola highlight the first week of conference play as the Cardinals and Dons meet March 25. Boys' Latin plays Dulaney in a non-league game March 23 before opening its conference season March 26 against Archbishop Spalding.

Bob Shriver is beginning his 31st year as the head coach at Boys' Latin head coach, his 40th year at the school if you count the five years he spent as a student and the four years he spent as Ridge Warfield's assistant.

This season, Shriver will be gunning for his sixth overall MIAA A Conference championship and his fourth in 13 years. Two of those teams finished unbeaten -- the 1997 juggernaut featuring Ryan Mollett (Princeton) and John Glatzel (Syracuse), who both went on to earn national collegiate Defenseman of the Year honors, Greg Patchak (Duke) and David Ulrich (Notre Dame), who were also named NCAA Division I first-team All-Americans; and the 21-0 team of 2006 that featured Brian Farrell, Chris Boland, David Shriver, Brett Weiss and Travis Reed.

This year's Lakers squad is led by seniors Pat Foster, Wells Stanwick, R.G. Keenan and Kevin O'Neil. The Lakers will certainly miss the 42 goals scored last year by Christian Walsh, now at the Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. Next year, Foster is headed to North Carolina after a 51-goal season a year ago as is Keenan, one of the nation's premier prep face-off specialists. The Lakers also return Conor Finch, Mike Kantz and Marcellus Preston, who are all headed to UMBC.

Boys' Latin was ranked No. 1 in the first Lax Guys national high school poll and No. 2 behind West Islip High of Long Island in the first Inside Lacrosse Under Armour high school poll. St. Paul's is ranked No. 2 in the Lax Guys poll and No. 10 in the Under Armour poll, one notch above No. 11 Calvert Hall. In all, six of the 10 Maryland A Conference teams are ranked in the first Under Armour poll. In addition to Boys' Latin, St. Paul's and Calvert Hall, St. Mary's of Annapolis is ranked 14th, Loyola 22nd and Gilman 23rd.

Rick Brocato is back as head coach of St. Paul's, which finished 15-7 last year and returns more than a dozen players who have already made Division I commitments including midfielder Pat Powderly, Mike Faby, Jeff Fountain and Alex Chay. 

Powderly is headed to Syracuse after a sensational junior season that saw him pump in a whopping 53 goals. Fountain and Chay are headed to Georgetown while Faby will play next year at Johns Hopkins.

Calvert Hall and Gilman met in last year's A Conference championship game, and though both teams graduated a ton of talent, both also return a slew of top-notch players. 

Davey Emala (Georgetown), Jack Doyle (Harvard: 31 goals, 13 assists) and Marcus Holman (North Carolina: 39 goals, 23 assists) formed the area's premier attack unit for Gilman while Greg McBride, now playing at North Carolina, added 20 goals and 18 assists from the midfield. Defensively, coach Brooks Matthews must replace Harry Prevas, now a starting defenseman for Virginia.

Gilman, 15-1 last year under Matthews, won its first A Conference championship in nine years when the Greyhounds beat Calvert Hall for the title. Duncan Hutchins (North Carolina), Jack Matthews (Rutgers), Tripp Trainor (St. Joseph's, Pa.) and Ryan Tucker return for a Gilman team that opened its season losing to Georgetown Prep, 10-8, before rebounding with wins over St. Anne's Belfield and The Collegiate School of Virginia.

Calvert Hall coach Brian Kelly must also replace some major firepower. Patrick Fanshaw led the Cardinals last year with 54 goals. He is now at Loyola University of Maryland, where he scored five goals March 20 in the Greyhounds' 18-3 win over Air Force. Calvert Hall also lost All-American defenseman Chris Lightner to Johns Hopkins, though they return ace midfielders Tony Rossi and Phil Castronova as well as Patrick Rhodey, Tommy Holland and Patrick Kelly. Kelly and Holland combined for 14 points in the Cardinals' opening season game March 19, assisting in the 18-8 win over the Hill School of Canada.

Loyola opened its season with wins over Haverford, Malvern Prep and Penn Charter of Pennsylvania as the Dons look to recapture a championship they won two years ago. Loyola, coached by Jack Crawford, won back-to-back conference championships in 2007 and '08. The Dons lost attackman Rob Fitzpatrick and his 35 goals and 21 assists to Rutgers, but return Brian Cannon, Bobby Distler and T.J. Neubauer on offense, and Emmett Cahill and goalie Max Bradley on defense. Cahill is headed to Maryland and is one of the nation's premier defenseman.

St. Mary's returns one of the best high school midfielders in the country in Mark McNeill which is good news for coach Matt Hogan, who looks to build on last year's 15-3 season. Hogan, a former assistant coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, must replace 210-pound defenseman Jason Gonos, now a teammate of Doyle’s this spring at Harvard.

McDonogh won its last championship back in 2005, and coach Andy Hilgartner must replace All-American midfielder Curtis Holmes, now playing at Maryland. The Eagles finished 11-7 last year and return a pair of seniors who are headed to Ohio State, attackman Tyler Frederick and defenseman Joe Meurer. McDonogh is 2-1 after wins over Durham Academy and Haverford and a loss to McCallie of Tennessee.

Coach Brian Wood and his Severn Admirals hope to rebound from a 7-10 season while Tony Brockmeyer looks for big things from his young team at Mount St. Joseph. Two years ago Archbishop Spalding earned its first A Conference playoff berth under first-year coach Zack Burke, a former defensive standout at St. Mary's High and UMBC. Now, the Cavaliers are primed for another postseason run behind midfielder Brian Cooper.

The A Conference is split into two divisions: the Black Division -- Calvert Hall, Loyola, McDonogh, Severn and St. Paul's -- and the Red Division -- Spalding, Boys' Latin, Gilman, Mount St. Joe and St. Mary's.

Posted March 22, 2010