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.
PNC Lacrosse Invitational
The excitement for the high school lacrosse season to begin was in the air Feb. 27 at the PNC Invitational press conference at Cunningham's in Towson, Md. On March 29, PNC Bank and Corrigan Sports Enterprises will put on a high school lacrosse doubleheader at the Ridley Athletic Complex at Loyola University, showcasing the top four teams in the country. Tickets cost $8.
The action will start at 5:30 p.m., when Philadelphia powerhouse Haverford School will take on St. Paul's of Brooklandville, Md. The schools have been playing each other every March for the past 15 seasons. Coach John Nostrant from Haverford and coach Rick Brocato from St. Paul's have been friends since their days at Washington College.
"It's always been an outstanding game, two like-minded programs," Brocato said. "John built his from scratch. I was fortunate to step into a [program] with a lot of tradition that I am very humbled to be the head coach."
The other game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff, and will feature Gonzaga of Washington, D.C., against McDonogh of Owings Mills, Md. The teams have previously played each other early during the season, alternating home-field advantage.
"I think at the end of the day, we all do this as coaches for the kids," Gonzaga coach Casey O'Neil said. "I think the experience these kids are going to get -- playing in the college stadium, having this media attention -- is outstanding. It's about them and enjoying that experience."
Gonzaga went 20-1 in 2012, and the one loss came against McDonogh. Last season in Owings Mills, O'Neil's team defeated coach Andy Hilgartner's McDonogh squad.
"It's going to be a great event," Hilgartner said. "It's going to be a great experience for the whole Baltimore lacrosse community."
Gonzaga Eagles Ready To Fly
Gonzaga, one of the powerhouse teams in D.C., has mounted a 78-8 record since the conclusion of the 2009 season. O'Neil's 2014 team will have 15 players committed to college, three of whom are seniors.
"We think we are good," O'Neil said. "We have a target on our back from success in our area, and now playing MIAA and teams around the country, that's big, and that is a lot of pressure for a sophomore and a freshman and juniors. We've had individual meetings with the guys, and they said that we are too nice and need to be a little tougher. It's going to start in the weight room and practice."
This season, the Eagles will play six teams from outside D.C., including The Hill Academy from Canada. The six teams had a combined 2013 record of 95-28.
"The schedule that we play is just as good as any team in the country with the exception of the MIAA," O'Neil said. "Our goal is to win our league, so if we can get them in situations and playing McDonogh, the Hill Academy, Boys' Latin, Georgetown Prep and Landon, to build and give us confidence, it will help going into the conference [games]."
Key Upcoming Games
March 7: Penn Charter (Pa.) vs. Loyola Blakefield (Md.)
March 7: Calverton (Md.) vs. St John's (D.C.)
March 8: Haverford (Pa.) vs. McDonogh (Md.)
March 8: Bullis (Md.) vs. Episcopal Academy (Pa.)
March 11: Bullis (Md.) vs. St. John's (D.C.)
Q&A: St. Paul's Senior Attackman Mikey Wynne
PressBox: How is practice going?
Mikey Wynne: Practice is going well. We did a lot of offseason stuff with [trainer] Jay Dyer, so our legs are looking pretty good. We are trying to tune up our sticks, but it's tough to do in this weather. But we make the best of what we have.
PB: Tough loss last season to Calvert Hall during the playoffs -- is that still in your minds going into this season?
MW: No. We just take it season by season and put it behind us. And just take one game at a time so hopefully, we get hot this year and won't even think about that loss.
PB: What are your thoughts about being a preseason top five team in the country?
MW: As a team, we see the rankings, no doubt, but we don't look at that like we are better than anyone else. Because we know being in the MIAA, it's any given day, anyone you play, you can have a tough win or a big win, so any given day, you have to have your head on a swivel.
Crabs / PressBox Boys' Top 20
- Boys' Latin
- Loyola Blakefield
- Georgetown Prep
- St. Paul's
- Calvert Hall
- St. Mary's Annapolis
- South River
- Paul VI
- Mount St. Joseph
- Kent Island
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
Boy's Latin defender Hugh Mosko -- University of Michigan
Georgetown Prep midfielder Brendan Collins -- University of Notre Dame
Broadneck defender Emily Barton -- Jacksonville University
Marriotts Ridge midfielder Taylor Hensh -- University of Maryland
Queens Anne's goalkeeper Courtney Baker -- Furman College
John Carroll attacker Grace Richards -- University of California, Davis
Bel Air attacker Katy Higinbothom -- Campbell University
Loyola Blakefield midfielder Ryan Conrad -- University of Virginia
St. Paul's attacker Alex McGovern -- University of North Carolina