Here is a brief look at some teams, players and coaches to watch in high school lacrosse -- for boys and girls -- this spring.
Boys' Team To Watch: Calvert Hall
Calvert Hall went through a tough season in 2018 while winning a second consecutive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title.
The Cardinals finished 16-3 and edged Boys' Latin in the title game to win that conference championship. Coach Bryan Kelly's team had to deal with the preseason death of assistant coach Dave Huntley, something that stung the team, as did the loss of a player's father two days before the championship.
"It's been a journey and it's been hard," Kelly said after the championship game. "It's been a hard year for me emotionally. Never won a championship without Dave [Huntley] on the sidelines. There's just a lot of things."
Calvert Hall lost a number of key players from last year's team, but as usual, the Cardinals will bring back plenty. Senior midfielder Grant Mitchell (30 goals, 18 assists last year; committed to Ohio State) returns, as does junior midfielder Cole Herbert (committed to North Carolina) plus a number of others who have committed to play lacrosse at the college level.
The Cardinals, who were ranked No. 1 nationally in the Nike/US Lacrosse preseason rankings, will again need to work their way through the always-difficult MIAA A Conference. But there's no question they've got the talent to be a force once again and have a shot at winning a third straight title.
Boys' Player To Watch: Brendan Grimes, Boys' Latin, junior
Grimes was one of the top offensive threats in the MIAA A Conference last year and a big reason why the Lakers made it to the championship game.
Grimes was a first-team All-Metro pick by The Baltimore Sun last season. He scored 61 goals, becoming the first sophomore in school history to score more than 60 goals in one season, according to the The Sun. Grimes has scored 97 goals during his first two seasons.
The Lakers again will rely heavily on the left-hander this spring. If Boys' Latin can find more punch around Grimes, its offense will be that much tougher to stop.
Grimes had committed to play for Ohio State but changed his mind and is now set to go to Johns Hopkins.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Boys' Latin Athletics
Girls' Team To Watch: McDonogh
The long streak is over. McDonogh had won 198 consecutive games before losing to Notre Dame Prep in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference final last year.
McDonogh often had been ranked as the top girls' lacrosse team in the country during the streak, but the Blazers' 10-8 victory in the title game handed the Eagles their first loss in any game this decade.
It's a new day in many ways for McDonogh this year. Former McDonogh and Maryland star Taylor Cummings has taken over as head coach this season. The Eagles lost a number of key players from last year's IAAM A Conference runner-up squad, but they still will bring back plenty of talent, including senior midfielder Blair Pearre, who was great on draws and scored 51 goals last season.
The biggest question for McDonogh is how it can pull everything together since it lost some good players and has a new coach. With an epic win streak now in the record books, it's likely the Eagles' priority this season will be reclaiming the A Conference title
Girls' Player To Watch: Kathleen Sullivan, South River, senior
Sullivan was one of the big reasons that South River won the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Class 4A title last season.
She finished with 55 goals and 22 assists as the Seahawks took the Anne Arundel County title and then went on to take the state championship. She posted three goals and two assists in the state title game against Dulaney, an 11-9 decision.
Sullivan also is strong on draws, so all of her talents should give South River a big lift once again this season. She will be looking to finish her high school career with a bang this spring before moving on to college.
Sullivan is committed to Army. For now, though, she is focused on helping the Seahawks repeat as the Anne Arundel County and state champion.
Coach To Watch:
Taylor Cummings, McDonogh
The Eagles will have a new head coach this season with Cummings stepping in. Cummings certainly will have the respect of her players -- she won three Tewaaraton Awards as the nation's top college player while at Maryland -- but now faces a new challenge.
Cummings served as assistant coach last year under interim coach Nancy Love, who decided not to come back. After last season ended, Cummings was given the job as head coach and is ready for a new season.
"It is very exciting to take over the McDonogh program, one full of so much tradition," Cummings said. "I look forward to working under an incredibly supportive athletic department and administration and with an incredible group of players and parents this season. McDonogh has always felt like home to me, and it's great to be back."
Photo Credit: Stacy Mitchell
Issue 252: March 2019