MIAA A Conference lacrosse championship
No. 1 Boys' Latin (19-0) vs. No. 4 Loyola (12-8)
When: Friday, 8 p.m.
Where: Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson University
Coaches: Bob Shriver, Boys' Latin; Jack Crawford, Loyola
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Boys' Latin: Colin Heacock, Sr., A; Shack Stanwick, Jr., A; Mac Pons, Sr., D; Christian Knight, Sr., G
Loyola: Devin McNamara, Sr., A; Alex Roesner, Soph., A; Ryan Conrad, Soph., M; Acie Newton, Soph., G
KEYS TO VICTORY
The top-ranked Lakers have taken a straight path to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title game as they bid to complete the program's third perfect season.
The Dons' road, on the other hand, has been a bumpy one as they look to finish the most improbable playoff run in league history.
Boys' Latin has superior depth, experience and talent, but Loyola — which had two three-game losing streaks in conference play during the regular season — is playing loose and confident.
In their 12-10 semifinal win over defending champion Calvert Hall, the Lakers' top players delivered in the clutch to overcome a 9-4 halftime defeicit. Heacock and Stanwick each scored three goals and Knight was superb with 14 saves.
Loyola claimed the sixth and final playoff seed after Mount St. Joseph won in double overtime against St. Mary's on the final day of the regular season. But the Dons have made the most of the opportunity, knocking off third-seeded Gilman, 17-14, in the quarterfinals before dominating second-seeded McDonogh, 13-4, in Tuesday's semifinals.
McNamara has been the catalyst for the Dons, with five goals and 10 assists in the two playoff wins. Roesner and senior Kevin Jackson have finished off scoring chances, Conrad has played well in the middle and Newton has led Loyola in goal.
Do the Dons have one more upset in them?
They are going to have to get the absolute best from every contributor to compensate for Boys' Latin's unprecedented depth — particularly at midfield, where the Lakers feature two stellar lines.
Will the championship game pressure overwhelm the Lakers as they attempt to complete a perfect season, leaving an opening for Loyola?
A fast start is much more important for the Dons, with the Lakers' season-long approach to wear teams down and control late-game action. The faceoff X also plays a big role, with Loyola's Kevin O'Toole going up against the Lakers' one-two tandem of Bryan Lichtenauer and Hunter Moreland.
MIAA B Conference lacrosse championship
John Carroll vs. Sts. Peter & Paul, Friday, 5:30 p.m.
MIAA C Conference lacrosse championship
Gerstell Academy vs. St. John's-Catholic Prep, Friday, 3 p.m.