The Maryland Scholastic Association came into last night's Lacrosse for Leukemia game at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field with a reputation as a lacrosse lion.
But against a surprisingly game group of Metro all-stars, at times the MSA team looked more like a lamb. Still, the MSA stars survived a late surge by the Metro team and held on for a 17-14 win.
Although the MSA team controlled the action for most of the game, a late scoring spree by the Metro team briefly gave rise to thoughts of an upset.
But after Mike Altshuler of Catonsville scored with 2:28 left to cut the MSA's lead to 16-14, the Metro team didn't score the rest of the way.
MSA coach Mitch Whiteley said that the game's three-goal rule, which awards possession to any team that gives up three straight goals, kept his team from gaining a big lead.
"The three-goal rule makes it real tough to keep any momentum going," said Whiteley, the coach of top-ranked St. Paul's. "It keeps the game close."
As expected, the game featured wide open play, with a number of fast-break opportunities for both sides.
Said Whiteley: "We have a lot of good players, and we just wanted to get them to move the ball up and down to keep our transition game going."
A big contributor to the MSA's transition game was Boys' Latin's Mark LaVerghetta, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player after notching three goals and two assists.
"We tried to pretty much run and gun it," LaVerghetta said. "It just wasn't really an offense. It started from the defense. When you push the ball up it makes things happen. It was pretty much the whole team."
At times in the second half, however, the MSA looked to be in trouble.
With the MSA leading, 10-4, early in the third quarter, the Metro team scored five of the next six goals to cut the deficit to 11-9 with 2:41 left in the quarter. Perry Hall's Curt Wiegert scored two goals during the spurt, and Dulaney's Mason Ray had a goal and two assists.
"This is probably the most athletic team we've ever had," said Metro coach Gary Schreiber of Dulaney. "A lot of the MSA players are used to playing together, and they moved the ball really well around the crease. Still, though, we played well and hung in there."