Archbishop Curley thought and hoped that it was still making up ground on the Friends lacrosse team. The Quakers romped through the Maryland Scholastic Association BB Conference unbeaten, but the cushion over the Friars in their two previous games had shrunk from seven to two goals, and both sides wondered if the trend would continue in yesterday's championship.
Not a chance. Friends spotted Curley a goal in the first minute, then ran away for a 12-2 victory at UMBC. It was the first MSA title for the Quakers since 1987, but coach John Garman and company, who finished 11-3 overall, wouldn't have minded stiffer conference opposition this spring.
"We're a small school and we've only got 24 boys on our roster, so I don't think we could play in the A Conference day in and day out," Garman said. "I do think we could be competitive against those guys three or four times a year though."
With John Carroll and McDonogh moving up to the A Conference this spring, Friends was in no-man's land, not quite deep enough for that elite level, but too talented and skilled for the BB Conference. Garman bids farewell to 12 seniors, and ace defenseman Gavin McCarthy is typical of the bunch. He's going to Boston University, hopefully to study music and maybe play club ball.
"I don't know of any seniors who are going to pursue lacrosse," Garman said. "It kills me as a coach, but they have other things going for them."
Junior attackman Spencer Deering, maybe Friends' top prospect, led the effort yesterday with two goals and three assists. Junior midfielder Kijana Mack had three goals and attackmen Andy Devlin and Todd Helman and midfielder Max Everett had two apiece. Midfielder Jesse Tischler had two assists. The Quakers scored six straight goals after Gary Myrncza put Curley on top with just 51 seconds gone.
Friends' adversity came early in the season, when goalie Gage Mond, a co- captain along with McCarthy, suffered a severe knee injury. Freshman Mike Fine took over in the cage, and had five saves yesterday. He was fronted by a veteran defense, as the Quakers silenced Curley midfielder Jimmie Virts, the conference's Kelly Award winner.
Curley finished 6-5 overall under first-year coach Barry Brownlee, who directed Northern to C Conference titles in 1985 and '88.
"We had to control the tempo to win today, and it didn't happen," Brownlee said. "We got in a run-and-gun game with Friends, and we needed a slower pace."