Prep Notebook: Cavaliers win rugby title

Spalding's rugby team celebrates its MIAA championship victory on Wednesday.

Archbishop Spalding was down by 10 points at halftime, but Kevin Ruddy wasn't worried. He'd seen this ending plenty of times already.

Ruddy watched as his Cavaliers rallied behind a pair of Zach Abey's touchdowns and extra points from Harrison Gotimer and John Sage as the helped lead the team to a 26-24 victory over Mount St. Joseph on Wednesday. With it came the program's first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rugby title.

"We've really stressed to the kids to finish the game," Ruddy said. "We just got used to doing that. In six of our games this year, we were down at halftime and came back to win. They refused to lose."

Archbishop Spalding (7-2), which earned the top seed in the playoffs after a three-way tie with the Gaels and Loyola due to, closed the season by winning seven of its last eight games.

But Ruddy wasn't so sure this would be the year. The Cavaliers, who just missed the final last season, worked on their conditioning to make sure it didn't happen again.

Ruddy pulled up two players, Harry Lagenselder and Mark Mazza, from the junior-varsity team to complement the rest of his crew. Abey and Neil Donahue anchored the scoring to give Ruddy his first championship during his eight-year tenure.

Prior to the start of the season, John Carroll closed its rugby program, which left only Calvert Hall, Mount St. Joseph, Loyola and Archbishop Spalding with teams.

Every team played each other twice, while the Cavaliers picked up a game against the D.C. Exiles and a pair in the Salisbury tournament. They got a bye into the finals because they outscored Mount St. Joseph and Loyola by three points and waited as those two decided the winner.

Archbishop Spalding's only losses were to the Gaels and Dons. But that was during the regular season.

The Cavaliers got a third shot at Mount St. Joseph and won the season series - and the championship.

"This is my program for the last eight years," Ruddy said. "The first year, we were one pass away from the final, and I thought this was going to be easy. For the kids who played the last four years and the alumni who came back, it was great to win. It's nice to put a number on a blank banner in the gym."

ALL-AMERICAN: St. Mary's goalkeeper Megan Ward was the only player from Anne Arundel County selected to the Under Armour All-American lacrosse teams. Ward is one of 11 girls from Maryland on the South Team, and nine of them play in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland.

Ward, one of 88 players on four teams, will play with McDonogh's Taylor Cummings, Liz Bannantinie and Corinne Ethison, John Carroll's Erica Bodt, St. Paul's twins, Brooke and Kelly Boyd, Bryn Mawr's Molly Wolf, Maryvale Prep's Sam Decangelo, Marriotts Ridge's Anne Zabel and Century's Alice Mercer.

The girls' game will start at 5 p.m. on June 30 at Towson University, followed by the boys' at 8 and will be televised on ESPNU.

DESTINATIONS: Meade forward Jamie McKeither signed a letter of intent to attend Nyack College in New York. A two-time All-County selection, McKeither was a big part of the Mustangs' run over the last two three seasons. She averaged 15.3 points and eight rebounds a game last season, while Meade pushed its way into the Class 4A East Region semifinals.

Nyack, which plays in the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference, finished last season 1-23. McKeither will be teammates with former Arundel player, Brianna McKellery.

  • Severn guard Deja Gibson will join Bethune-Cookman's basketball team next year. A standout with the Admirals the last two years, Gibson averaged 10 points and 1.9 assists and will try and help the Wildcats improve on their 10-19 season.
  • Broadneck's Kimber Salvas will play softball at Morgan State next year. The Bruins' third baseman and member of two state championship teams, Salvas has started on varsity all four of her seasons.