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MIAA A lacrosse semifinal breakdown

By Glenn Graham

The Baltimore Sun

1:30 PM EDT, May 14, 2013

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The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference lacrosse semifinals are set for tonight at Towson University with No. 1 and undefeated Boys' Latin the favorite.  Defending champ and No. 3 Calvert Hall gets first crack at the Lakers in the semifinal round with game time set for 5 p.m.  No. 2 McDonogh takes on No. 4 Loyola in the second semifinal game set for 7:30.  The winners will meet in Friday's championship game set for 8 p.m., also at Towson. Here's a look at the two semifinal round matchups:

(at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium)

No. 1 Boys' Latin (18-0) vs. No. 3 Calvert Hall (11-5)

Time: 5 p.m.

Outlook:  The Lakers are two wins away from the program's third perfect season and are the decided favorites to win it all.  In plowing through a challenging regular season, they have used unmatched depth, a fast pace and sturdy defense to continually stay a step ahead.  Colin Heacock and Shack Stanwick are as dynamic as they come and provide an ideal complement to each other on attack with the Lakers boasting two powerful midfield lines that put constant pressure on opponents.  Defensively, the Lakers are fundamentally sound with four-year starter Mac Pons and fellow senior Tom Brown in front of senior goalie Christian Knight.  How can Calvert Hall, which lost to Boys' Latin 13-7 during the regular season, stack up? That's the question each Boys' Latin opponent has been struggling to answer this season.  The Cardinals are going to have to be completely on top of their game in every facet, and they have the confidence and championship experience to believe.  Senior midfielder Stephen Kelly is the starting point with his dominating work at the faceoff X.  With standout defenseman Garrett Epple out with an injury, the Cardinals will lean heavily on longstick midfielder Tyler Mayes and junior Erik Evans to limit the Lakers' potent attack.  Midfielders John Belz, Johnny Kelly and Timmy Kelly will have to carry major loads with Jordan Germershausen the catalyst on attack.  Calvert Hall advanced to the semifinals with a 10-8 win over St. Paul's in Friday's quarterfinals.     

No. 2 McDonogh (14-3) vs. No. 4 Loyola (11-8)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Dons barely made the playoffs -- needing Mount St. Joseph to upset St. Mary's on the last day of the regular season to snag the sixth seed.  So far, they've made the most of the opportunity with a 17-14 upset over third-seeded Gilman in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.  Loyola has the standouts to offset McDonogh's across-the-board talent in playmaking attackman Devin McNamara, finishers Alex Roesner and Jack Lombardo and do-it-all midfielder Ryan Conrad.  In Friday's win at Gilman, goalie Acie Newton was sensational and midfielder Kevin O'Toole was strong on faceoffs -- something that will have to continue for the Dons to get past second-seeded McDonogh. The Eagles have enjoyed consistent success with a workman-like approach that can wear down opponents.  Midfielders Austin Frederick and Brinton Valis are catalysts with attackman Trey McGee emerging as a quality dodger and finisher.  Hil Blaze will give O'Toole all he can handle at the faceoff X and possession will be vital.  The Eagles defense is as sound as they come led by longstick midfielder Danny Sweeney and goalie Nick Doyle.