The Underclassmen games at the Under Armour Lacrosse Classic belong to the Baltimore All-Stars — again.
For the second straight year, the Baltimore girls beat heavily favored Long Island All-Stars while the Baltimore boys topped the Philladelphia All-Stars to sweep both titles in the heat and humidity at Towson University on Sunday afternoon.
The Baltimore girls struck first, knocking off the New Yorkers, 10-9, on Jen Giles' team-high third goal of the game with 68 seconds left in the first overtime period.
The Mt. Hebron rising senior collected a pass from McDonogh rising junior Savannah Buchanan and streaked inside the arc to put the game away.
"Our plan was to just go in and take care of the ball, but to make any opportunity that was presented to you." Giles said, noting that Long Island goalie Samantha Giacolone had an outstanding tournament. "Savannah passed it to me. I tried to fake (Giacolone) high and I was able to take the shot (toward the bottom right corner)."
In addition to her game-winner, Giles ripped in a free-position shot with about two minutes left in regulation to tie the score, 9-9.
Moreover, Giles played tight defense down the stretch on Long Island spark plug Sydney Pirreca, whose three second-half goals helped the New Yorkers go on a 5-0 run to take a 9-8 advantage with three minutes to go.
That said, Miranda Ibello was named tournament MVP for her overall prowess. The Maryvale rising senior scored twice against long Island and matched that output plus an assist in a 15-7 rout of Philadelphia in a semifinal.
"We were much more of a team this year," she said. "And it's our hometown, and we wanted to win the championship in our hometown."
Olivia Jenner (McDonogh) was the only Baltimore player on the All-Tournament team other than Ibello.
The Baltimore boys, were just as resourceful in close games, edging the South, in a semifinal, and Philadelphia, in the final, by a goal each to run their winning streak of one-goal games to five in a row after opening the tournament with a 15-7 rout of Upstate, N.Y.
It also gave the boys a 12-0 record in the tournament since 2012 and the Charm City boys and girls are a combined 23-1 over that span.
Gilman rising senior Andy Matthews notched the game-winner in overtime against the South, bulling his way around the crease to rifle in a left-handed shot.
"The game had to be over," the University of North Carolina recruit said. "I had missed a shot with a minute to go (in regulation), so I felt it was on me."
In the championship against Philly, the game was just as tight, although Baltimore did manage to build a 12-10 cushion late in the final period on goals by Calvert Hall rising junior Ethan Mintzer and Matthews — both assisted by Loyola Blakefield rising junior Cole Williams.
When longstick Jake Peden scored with two minutes left in regulation for Philly, Baltimore was back in familiar territory by trying to protect a one-goal lead.
Philadelphia coach Frank Urso, a former University of Maryland great, then called a time out with 18 seconds to go to set up a final play that was eventually broken up by rising junior close defenseman Thomas Miller (St. Mary's) and cleared by Mintzer.
The unsung hero, though, was rising junior Alex Roesner (Loyola), who scored four key goals in the second half as the local stars overcame a 5-4 halftime deficit.
"When the ball's moving quick, that's when I get a lot of good looks around me," he said. "I have a lot of good guys around me. They kept jamming it inside, and it worked out, I guess."
Ryan Conrad (Loyola) and Timmy Kelly (Calvert Hall), who combined for the winning score in a 10-9 verdict over the West in pool play, were named to the All-Tournament Team while fellow rising senior A.J. Barretto (St. Paul's) earned MVP honors for his work in the goal.
"Everyone stays calm," Barretto said when asked about how the Baltimoreans thrived under pressure in the tourney. "The coach (Howard High's Jimmy Creighton) wasn't yelling or anything, and we believe in ourselves."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun