The St. Mary's boys lacrosse team has a familiar opportunity going into Tuesday's regular season finale against Mount St. Joseph.
Against rival Severn on Friday, Alexander Woodall dominated faceoffs and the Saints opened with seven of the game's first eight goals to cruise to a 19-9 win over the Admirals, keeping them in line to earn a spot in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs.
If the No. 4 Saints beat the Gaels, they will claim the sixth and final playoff spot in the A Conference — something that eluded the team on the final day of regular season last year.
St. Mary's (10-5) and defending league champion and No. 7 Loyola (8-7) both have 4-4 league marks, but the Saints' win over the Dons earlier in the season would give them the coveted last playoff spot if they beat Mount St. Joseph.
Last season, Loyola lost to Calvert Hall in the regular season to give the Saints a chance at claiming the last spot, but Mount St. Joseph pulled out a 9-8 double overtime win. The Dons thought their season was over after the loss to the Cardinals, but ended up with new life and went on to the league's most improbable championship run.
St. Mary's second-year coach Ben Rubeor is looking forward to what his team brings on Tuesday.
"I'd like to say we've grown," he said. "I'd like to say I've gotten better at my job. I'd like to say the boys have improved as players. But I think Tuesday will tell. I think we'll learn a lot Tuesday whether we've learned what we needed to learn and grown up enough. We'll see if we can get ourselves ready to beat a very talented Mount St. Joseph team."
On Friday, the Saints certainly looked like a playoff team. On offense, the Saints got two goals and four assists from Tim Hardy, four goals from Jacob Carraway and three goals and two assists from Jacob Ellis.
Both Rubeor and Severn coach Brian Wood said Woodall's work on faceoffs (he won 24 of 29) was the key to the Saints' win.
"It's important," said Woodall, who also scored two goals and added an assist. "We work on it every day and that's one of our strong points, so it's really satisfying."
Leading 2-1, the visitors scored five straight goals in 1:13 of play to build a commanding 7-1 lead. Woodall and Ellis each had one goal and one assist in the key spurt.
With the Saints' lead at 11-3 late in the second quarter, the Admirals got a goal from Ben Bedard with 1:41 left in the half and then got two more shots off before intermission, but goalie Tim Troutner made two sharp saves to avoid any momentum swing.
After another save by Troutner to start the second half, the Saints scored four of the next five goals to put the game away at 15-5 midway through the third quarter.
Bedard and Tyler Perreten each scored two goals for the Admirals, who also got eight saves from starting goalie Trey Johnson.
"We felt like we could score when we had the ball and we could," Woods said. "The problem was we didn't have the ball. You just can't play that much defense."
No. 4 St. Mary's 19, Severn 9
Goals: SM – Kelly, Hardy 2, Robertson 2, McGuire, Johnson 2, Carraway 4, Ellis 3, Z. Williams, Mateosky, Woodall 2;
S – Perreten 2, DeSefano 2, Davis, Bailey, Bedard 2, Kunowsky.
Assists: SM – Hardy 4, Ellis 2, Woodall;
S – Munroe, Nelligan.
Saves: SM – Troutner 9, Egloff 1;
S – Johnson 8, Sacker 2.
Half: SM, 11-4Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun