Before last Tuesday, St. Paul's hadn't lost a lacrosse game i two years.
Yesterday, the Crusaders ended their season with their second loss in eight days.
Behind a career-high four goals from senior midfielder Dominic Souza, fifth-ranked St. Mary's ended No. 2 St. Paul's two-year reign as Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference champion with an 8-7 win at St. Paul's.
The Saints (11-5) will face top-ranked Loyola (15-3) for the MSA A Conference championship Friday at 7 p.m. at UMBC. Loyola beat Boys' Latin, 11-6, in the other semifinal game.
St. Mary's, which was the last team to beat St. Paul's before the Crusaders' 34-game winning streak was snapped by Loyola last Tuesday, played a ball-control game yesterday that held St. Paul's (13-2) to its second lowest goal total of the season.
"We knew we couldn't run up and down the field with them because of their great team speed," said St. Mary's coach Jim Moorhead, whose Saints had lost to St. Paul's, 10-5, earlier in the season. "We felt we had to hold the ball quite a bit, and we did a good job of that."
Behind two goals each from Souza and junior midfielder Todd Vizcarrondo, the Saints built a 6-1 lead with 6 minutes, 9 seconds left in the first half.
St. Paul's sophomore attackman Tucker Radebaugh brought the Crusaders to within 6-3 with two goals -- on the only shots by St. Paul's in the second quarter -- in the final 1:49 of the half.
The Saints controlled the ball long enough to out-shoot the Crusaders 13-6 by halftime. St. Mary's senior Kevin Reichardt won eight of 10 faceoffs in the half against St. Paul's combination of junior Matt Mueller and freshman Chris Berrier.
"We couldn't get the ball," said St. Paul's coach Mitch Whiteley. "We had to take some risks defensively when we got behind and we made some mistakes."
The Crusaders' regular faceoff man, junior John Solter, was suspended from the game for violating a school regulation forbidding the chewing of tobacco on campus.
"We were missing our best faceoff man and one of our best offensive middies, and it really hurt us," said Whiteley.
In the third quarter, St. Paul's senior attackman Michael Watson scored two goals in the first 40 seconds and assisted Radebaugh with 2:42 left to force a 6-6 tie going into the final period.
Reichardt won the opening faceoff of the fourth quarter, and Souza scored 34 seconds later to give the Saints a 7-6 lead.
Almost three minutes later, Radebaugh started with the ball at the end line, drew two defenders and fed to Watson, who danced across the crease and beat junior goalie Jim Brown to tie it 7-7 with 6:36 left.
With less than three minutes left, Reichardt took the ball from behind the St. Paul's goal and bounced it in front of the crease to Souza, who flicked it into the net for an 8-7 lead with 2:46 left.
"I knew it could be my last game as a Saint, and I really didn't want that to happen," said Souza. "We have a great bunch of guys here and I felt they deserved to go to the championship."
In the final 2:20, the Crusaders had four shots to tie, but Watson and Billy Ruhl shot wide and two shots by Watson were knocked down by St. Mary's defensemen.
With 34 seconds left, St. Paul's regained possession on a delay-of-game penalty, but goalie Sean Keenan's attempted clear was intercepted by defenseman Thad Schmidt, who passed downfield to Dan Collins, who ran out the clock.