Some of the top boys' high school players in the nation took the field April 1 before an announced crowd of 1,315 at the PNC Lacrosse Invitational at Loyola University's Ridley Athletic Complex.
When the pair of games finally finished after two lightning delays that lasted about 1 hour and 40 minutes, Bullis and Calvert Hall emerged as the dominant teams and reinforced their spots in the national rankings.
Bullis put on an impressive display against Boys' Latin, earning a 16-10 victory. Calvert Hall, which entered the game as the top-ranked team in the nation in the Nike/
Lacrosse Magazine poll, had a dominant 12-6 victory against Conestoga (Pa).
"It was a great experience to play in the PNC Invitational," Calvert Hall head coach Bryan Kelly said. "It is a first-class event, and you compete against top-level competition. It allows our kids to experience a big-game atmosphere."
The Cardinals have depth and speed and will create matchup problems for most teams this season. Against the Pioneers, Jack Kinnear (Villanova) led the Cardinals with four goals, JT Bugliosi (Ohio State) had three goals and Omari DeBerry (Ohio State) scored twice.
Calvert Hall (7-1) has won three straight games since losing to Hill Academy (Canada), 11-7, March 17. The Cardinals picked up a signature victory against former No. 5 Malvern Prep, 7-6, in overtime March 22.
Calvert Hall's tough early season schedule should prepare its players for the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference opener against Mount St. Joseph April 12. The Cardinals have scored 12 goals or more in six of their eight games and have allowed 10 or more goals once.
"I think we are a very skilled team," Kelly said. "If you watch us play, we are not the biggest/oldest team out there. Our kids played very hard; and we played with good pace. We always have areas to improve on as we prepare for MIAA play. We need to improve our riding and clearing game. We also need to keep stressing and working on the fundamentals of the game."
Boys' Latin (4-2) struggled to contain the Bulldogs' high-powered attack and never led. Bullis junior attackman Alex Trippi, who made a verbal commitment to play at North Carolina, created the most matchup problems and finished with five goals.
Boys' Latin head coach Brian Farrell hopes his team can learn from the experience as it prepares for its MIAA A Conference opener against Archbishop Spalding April 12.
"This makes you a better team," Farrell said. "You learn from your wins, and you learn from your losses. We are going to watch film, and we are going to get better."
Bullis (8-2) has reeled off six straight wins since losing to Hill Academy March 18. The Bulldogs only other setback was an 11-4 loss to Gonzaga in the season opener March 7.
The Lakers topped Gonzaga, 10-8, March 29 in the middle of a three-game winning streak. However, Boys' Latin could not put much together against Bullis because of its struggles to gain possession. The Bulldogs won 17-of-29 faceoffs to set the tone.
Senior attackman Logan Wisnauskas (Syracuse) was the top player for Boys' Latin, finishing with three goals and three assists.
"Bullis is a great team," Wisnauskas said. "We're nowhere close to where we want to be. We still have work we have to do. We can all agree to that. We'll come back."