Being a senior in high school athletics can be a wonderful experience. Sometimes.
It's wonderful if you're one of the 15 seniors who make up the Severn School boys lacrosse team. But it could prove a bitter memory if you're one of the 13 seniors on the Severna Park squad.
Tenacious and talented Severn (12-5) made it to the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference boys' lacrosse playoffs Saturday with a 10-6 victory over Gilman.
Jason Wade scored three goals, and Milford Marchant added a pair as the Admirals took the final playoff spot in the MSA A Conference. As the second place team in Division I, Severn travels to Division II winner Boys' Latin (17-1) for a 3:45 p.m. semifinal contest tomorrow.
Boys' Latin took a 6-5 overtime squeaker from Severn in the only regular-season meeting between the two.
The other MSA A Conference semifinal pits top-ranked Division I champion St. Paul's (15-0) against Division II runner-up Calvert Hall (8-5).
That Severn could make it to Friday's MSA A Conference championship game is amazing, since the Admirals were ready to accept the disappointment of not making post-season play, even with a senior-dominated team.
A 9-7 loss to Mount St. Joseph (5-9) April 21 put the Admirals on the skids, but coach Rob White's crew regrouped and won five of the last six, including a big 13-7 decision at Loyola Tuesday. During their late run, the Admirals got the help they needed from a couple of other teams to make it happen.
Jason Moran and Marchant were playing their second varsity season two years ago when Severn lost in the A Conference final; senior teammates Wade, Graydon Ripley, Court Durling and Todd Muendel were in their first varsity season as sophomores.
One can only wonder how good this Severn team would have been with attackman Dudley Dixon in there. Dixon blew out his left knee this spring and had full reconstructive surgery. He is expected back next season for his senior year.
Now for the other side.
Second-seeded Severna Park (12-3) was upset at home Saturday night by the third-seeded South River Seahawks, 10-9, in the Class 4A/3A Region IV semifinals. This was supposed to be Severna Park's year to make the state final, with so many talented seniors.
"We're loaded. This should be our year," sixth-year Falcons' head coach Ed Ulrich said before the start of the season in our lacrosse preview. "We're geared for the long haul, to be in the championship game at UMBC."
UMBC will be the site of Saturday's State 4A-3A final, but Severna Park won't be there after its disappointing loss to the Seahawks.
Top-seeded Broadneck (13-2) and South River (9-6) will play at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Anne Arundel Community College for the Region IV title and the right to play in the state final.
Broadneck advanced by ripping Arundel (6-9), 13-4, on Saturday.
Class 4A North County (10-5) also hopes to make it to the state final. The third-seeded Knights of coach Paul Shea nipped No. 2 Catonsville (7-4) Friday evening, 11-10, to move into tomorrow night's 4A/3A Region II final opposite the Franklin-Lansdowne winner.
The two Baltimore County teams were rained out Friday and are expected to play today.
Coach Kevin Buckley's fourth-seeded Northeast Eagles (7-8) advanced to the Class 2A/1A Region II final with a 5-4 upset victory Friday night over top-seeded Kent County (11-2). The Eagles play for the Region II title at 7 p.m. tomorrow at second-seeded Southern (8-5), a 10-5 winner over No. 3 Easton (7-5).
"It will be a tough game, but we can beat them if we play well," said Buckley, whose Eagles were beaten by the Dawgs', 7-5, way back on March 23.
"We've come a long way since then by playing a lot of tough 4A schools. Hopefully, the schedule we played will benefit us in the playoffs."
* On the baseball scene, if this were the big leagues, a couple of Class 4A clubs would be scoreboard-watching this afternoon. Unfortunately, such electronic information is not available, so Broadneck (11-6) and Chesapeake (9-9) will have to rely on carrier pigeon or telephones.
The Defending State 4A champion Arundel Wildcats (14-5) clinched a third playoff berth in Region IV with Severna Park (15-2) and Old Mill (12-5), blanking South River (6-11), 5-0, Saturday.
To win the fourth spot, Chesapeake (9-7), with 67 points in games that count toward the playoffs, has to win its final two, today at Old Mill and tomorrow at home against Glen Burnie (9-9). Coach Jim Simms' Cougars will need some additional help as well. Broadneck (10-6), with 76 points in games that count, has to lose today at home to Arundel. If the Bruins win today, they would be in the playoffs with 84 points. Even by winning the final two, Chesapeake would have only 83 points and fall one short.
However, the 83 would be good enough if Broadneck loses today -- even if the team should turn around and win tomorrow at Southern (5-11). Southern is a Class 2A school and is only worth six points, meaning Broadneck would finish with 82 points.
Arundel, by clinching Saturday, put coach Bernie Walter in position to win his 300th career game today at Broadneck. The Wildcat coach has a career record of 299-87.
Walter's Wildcats are on schedule to defend their state championship. Sophomore right-hander Brandon Agamennone fired a two-hitter at South River to notch his fourth win (4-2), but more importantly to keep up his late season run at giving Walter a solid No. 2 man behind ace Brian Rolocut (9-0).
"Brandon has really improved as a pitcher and is starting to do some really good things for us," Walter said. "We are very pleased with his progress -- and [of] the whole team, for that matter."
A team needs at least two top-notch pitchers to entertain hopes of winning the region championship and advancing to the state final four.
With the 4A Region IV Tournament set for Friday and Saturday, a club has to run two pretty good pitchers out there to win. Teams with just one outstanding pitcher don't have much of a shot.
Arundel has arguably the county's premier pitcher in Rolocut; now, with Agamennone coming on, it appears the Wildcats have what it takes to defend their crown. This is a club that hit rock bottom before the Easter tournament, drawing the ire of Walter for its shoddy defensive play.
These days, it doesn't look like the same team.
"This team has really improved after struggling in the middle of the season, and has been playing excellent defense," Walter said. "Their attitude has been very positive about trying to learn and become a better team and players. And our pitching has become very solid. This is a very young team, too."
Arundel only has five seniors, and 14 players who could return next season. It sure looks like this was the year to get the Wildcats, but county opponents failed to do so.
It would be nice to win this year and hope that senior experience makes Arundel better, not bitter, next season.