St. Paul's "hit a buzz saw today," said Boys' Latin coach Bob Shriver, after his visiting, third-ranked Lakers downed the top-ranked Crusaders, 15-8, before a sun-baked homecoming crowd of about 5,000 in what Shriver called "our best game of the year."
All-Metro Travis Reed (four goals, two assists), Brett Weiss (two, three), Josh Perlow (two goals) and D.J. Rickels (one, one) led the Lakers (13-1, 6-0), who twice built fourth-quarter, eight-goal leads en route to taking first place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
The Lakers' fourth straight win also comes on the heels of Tuesday's 8-6 victory over No. 2 McDonogh, which, along with the Crusaders (12-2, 5-1), had earned early-season, one-goal wins over Haverford (Pa.).
Haverford subsequently defeated the Lakers, 11-10, on April 7, ending a 30-game winning streak for a team that went a school-record 21-0 to win last year's MIAA A Conference title over McDonogh.
"Our second attack scored four goals," said Shriver, referring to Eric Smith, Jack Dudley, Mark Feild, Tim Sutton and Kyle Frank who had one goal each.
"This feels good to get the momentum right back after losing a couple of weeks ago," said Weiss, a senior who has narrowed his college picks to Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Maryland. "We know a lot of their guys, so, no matter what's at stake, we get up a little more for St. Paul's."
Chris Clements and Adam Johnston scored three goals each for the Crusaders, whose winning streak of seven games ended. Stu Wheeler made 15 saves for St. Paul's, which suffered only its second defeat in its past 45 games on the program's 4-year-old Martin D. Tullai Field. St. Paul's had won 36 straight contests at home before a 6-5, double-overtime loss to Rockville's Georgetown Prep.
"Their second quarter, when our wheels came off, they played as good as I've seen a team play all year," said coach Rick Brocato, in his third year at St. Paul's after having assisted Shriver for four. "Because they were winning the draws in the second quarter, they were playing make-it, take-it, and we couldn't stop them."
Midfielders Justin Radebaugh, John Davis and Tyler Silvey (one goal) sparked the Lakers' 17-9 advantage in faceoffs. After having lost five of six first-quarter faceoffs to the Crusaders' Peter Smyth, the Lakers won seven of nine in the second quarter.
"The first quarter, we felt we were winning some draws but weren't picking up the ground balls," said Radebaugh, who won nine of the 12 faceoffs he took. "But we worked on making adjustments with [assistant coach Tano Arrogancia], which was the difference."
With the score 2-2 at 1:27 of the first quarter, Weiss and Reed combined for a play that swung the momentum firmly in the Lakers' favor. After making his seventh save, Wheeler, unable to find an open man downfield, was trapped while trying to run between Weiss and Reed in the box. After Weiss checked the ball from Wheeler's stick, Reed scooped it on the bounce and ripped an 8-yard shot into an empty net. The play sparked a six-goal run to make it 8-2. The Lakers, winners of 52 of their past 55 games, led 10-4 at halftime.
"Brett ran up there and for a great play; I was just there to finish it up," said Reed, a University of Maryland-bound senior who had three goals and two assists against McDonogh. "Then we really took advantage, kept shooting, scored a bunch of goals. Beating McDonogh and St. Paul's right in a row, man, that's a huge deal and something to be proud of."