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Howard Looking To Retain State Crown
Lacrosse Spotlight: St. Paul's Senior Midfielder/Attackman Joe Pollard
After winning a state title for the first time since 1979, the Howard boys' lacrosse team is fully focused on adding more hardware to its trophy case.
This season, though, the Lions will be playing with a bull's-eye on their backs, as teams will be gunning for them.
"I don't think it changed their mentality," Lions head coach Jimmy Creighton said. "If anything, it just gave our guys more confidence and more of a drive to improve on their skills, strength and speed to keep up with the high level of play at the top of Maryland public school lacrosse. It showed them what you can achieve when working for a common goal as one unit. We know as last year's 4A/3A state champion that teams want to beat us, but that comes with the territory. If teams are gunning for you, that means, in most cases, that your team is having success on the field."
The Lions have won three straight regional titles and back-to-back Howard County championships. Howard averaged about 18 goals per game last season. That put added pressure on their opponents to keep pace with them. This season, the team might lean more heavily on the defense.
"We had a very explosive offense last year," Creighton said. "We graduated some very talented players who scored a ton of goals for us over a two-, three-year period. It would be tough for anyone to repeat that performance, so I am not even going to try to compare the two groups. I am looking for our guys to come together right now as one group and to pick up our offense more efficiently."
Loyola Knocks Off Top-Ranked Haverford
Loyola Blakefield pulled off the biggest upset of the young lacrosse season March 15 with a 16-14 victory against Haverford (Pa.), which was the nation's top-ranked team in several polls. Senior attackman Cole Williams (Johns Hopkins commit) led the Dons with four goals and three assists
Joe Pollard leads a Crusaders attack that is one of the most powerful in the nation. St. Paul's advanced to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinals last season, and this year, Pollard and his teammates are determined to bring a title back to the school. Pollard, a stellar student, has committed to play lacrosse at Johns Hopkins.
As a senior captain and three-year varsity letterman, what goals did you set for yourself this season?
Joe Pollard: Every year, the goal at St. Paul's is to win the MIAA championship. We've been close the last couple of years, and hopefully this is our year. Additionally, as a guy that's been around for a while, I would like to mentor and pass on to some of the younger guys what I learned from older guys like Mikey Wynne and Henry Riehl.
How close-knit is this year's St. Paul's team? How could that chemistry help win a title in the MIAA A Conference?
JP: I think we have good chemistry. Some of us have played together since before SP. Mitch Gordon and I have played on the same attack since we were 8 years old. It's going to take good chemistry and staying healthy to win the MIAA, because every team has so much talent.
What went into your decision to commit to Johns Hopkins?
JP: Academically, Johns Hopkins is one of top 10 schools in the country. I think sometimes people in Baltimore don't truly appreciate that. From a lacrosse standpoint, it is the most historic program in the world. I wanted to play at a school where lacrosse is important, and nowhere is it more important than Hopkins. Having played at the most historic high school program, I enjoy the pressure and challenges that come with that history.
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1. Landon (Md.)
2. McDonogh (Md.)
3. Calvert Hall (Md.)
4. Loyola Blakefield (Md.)
5. Gonzaga (D.C.)
6. Boys' Latin (Md.)
7. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.)
8. Georgetown Prep (D.C.)
9. St. Paul's (Md.)
10. Severn (Md.)
1. McDonogh (Md.)
2. Good Counsel (Md.)
3. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.)
4. Roland Park (Md.)
5. Manchester Valley (Md.)
6. Archbishop Spalding (Md.)
7. Severn (Md.)
8. Notre Dame Prep (Md.)
9. Garrison Forest (Md.)
10. Bryn Mawr (Md.)
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