No. 2 St. Mary’s started slowly Tuesday night, especially on offense, but the Saints remained patient and quickly turned the game around against No. 3 Boys’ Latin for an 11-5 victory in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference lacrosse semifinals.
After the Lakers scored the first two goals, Nick Lilly, Ian Krampf and Scout Ripley sparked a six-goal run that put the Saints in command at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.
St. Mary’s (13-5) will meet No. 1 Calvert Hall in Friday’s championship game at 7 p.m. at Towson. The Cardinals defeated No. 4 Loyola, 18-4, in the other semifinal Tuesday night and are going for a third consecutive conference championship.
The Saints didn’t panic after falling behind early. They remained patient on offense and kept working and finding good shots.
“Tonight, we played a pretty good game,” St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly said. “They stayed patient and tough.”
Nick Lilly scored three goals while Krampf added two, plus two assists. Ripley pitched in with two goals and one assist. Cameron Spencer led Boys’ Latin (12-7) with two goals and one assist, but the Lakers offense struggled after the early minutes.
The St. Mary’s defense tightened up and kept Boys’ Latin without a goal for nearly 19 minutes after the Lakers took that early 2-0 lead. The Saints also got a goal in the final 10 seconds of the first half to cap the six-goal run, and Nick Lilly said both of those things proved to be crucial.
“That was huge,” Lilly said. “It was a big momentum swing for us. Once we got our groove going, then we were OK.”
Boys’ Latin seemed to get its groove going first. Riar Schell took a pass from Spencer and made a quick move to score from in front with 7:45 left in the first quarter.
The Lakers made it 2-0 when Spencer scored from the edge of the crease just 87 seconds later. But Zach Dudley won the ensuing faceoff for the Saints and quickly fed Krampf, who scored just seven seconds later.
That seemed to start the turnaround.
“We’ve gone down two or three goals [before],” Krampf said. “We did a good job and kept fighting and kept pushing.”
The Saints scored two goals just 15 seconds apart a little after that when Garrett Nilsen (4:05) and Dudley (3:50) came through to give St. Mary’s a 3-2 lead, and it never trailed again.
The second quarter also belonged to the Saints. Nick Lilly scored an extra-man goal, off a pass from Krampf, with 6:43 remaining in the half. Ripley made it 5-2 on a long, low shot at the 3:26 mark.
Lilly then scored that crucial late goal with 9.3 seconds left, taking a long feed from Alex Wicks and beating goalie JT Morton from in close for a 6-2 halftime lead.
Boys’ Latin broke St. Mary’s run when Spencer took a quick feed from Dominic Pietramala and got an extra-man goal 39 seconds into the second half. The Lakers cut it to 6-4 when Kevin Davis scored off a Blake Gable assist — long-pole to long-pole — with 5:40 to go in the quarter.
The Saints took the momentum back when Allen Hockenberry scored an extra-man goal 39 seconds later. Lilly stretched the margin to four by scoring on a diving shot.
Gabe Souza then scored the team’s third-extra man goal 20 seconds into the fourth quarter for a 10-4 lead, and the Saints were back in command once more.
Goals: B- Spencer 2, Erickson, Schell, Davis; S- Lilly 3, Krampf 2, Ripley 2, Dudley, Hockenberry, Nilsen, Souza. Assists: B- Gable, Pietramala, Spencer; S- Krampf 2, Dudley, Hockenberry, Ripley, Wicks. Saves: B- Morton 8; S- Schmidt 5. Half: S, 6-2.