Tuesday fittingly capped a roller-coaster regular season in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference lacrosse. Now it’s time to move on to the playoffs.
Top-seeded and defending champion Boys’ Latin and second-seeded St. Mary’s earned first-round byes with one-goal wins on Tuesday. They head straight to next Tuesday’s semifinals at Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, with the championship game set for next Friday.
Here’s a closer look at the top two seeds and Friday’s quarterfinal matchups:
The top seeds
No. 1 ranked Boys’ Latin (13-3 overall, 8-2 in MIAA)
The thrilling 13-12 overtime win at St. Paul’s in Tuesday’s regular-season finale was all the buzz at Boys’ Latin on Wednesday. While it locked up the top speed and proved valuable experience heading into the playoffs — the Lakers rallied from a late three-goal deficit in front of a huge St. Paul’s crowd — coach Brian Farrell is emphasizing the clean slate that comes with the start of the playoffs. He has a sensational senior class to help drive the point home.
Senior star Dom Pietramala leads a dangerous attack that also boasts breakout sophomore Spencer Ford, and junior Kyle Foster keys a defensive unit that plays smart and together in front of solid goalie Cardin Stoller. And don’t forget midfielder Nate Crouse, a tough grinder in the middle of the field.
With their championship pedigree and consistent play, the Lakers have earned the tag of playoff favorite.
No. 4 St. Mary’s (15-2, 8-2)
Undefeated at 14-0, St. Mary’s dropped consecutive games to Boys’ Latin and Archbishop Spalding before righting the ship on Tuesday with a 9-8 comeback win over Severn to clinch an opening-round bye. A tight team with across-the-board balance, the Saints are at their best when they play fast and loose, and they did just that for most of the season.
On attack, captains Will Hopkins and Nick Golini provide a consistent one-two punch, and they aren’t the only players to watch. The Saints have potent depth at the faceoff circle with Justin Webber and Teddy Androus sharing duties. Defenseman and captain Riley Reese is the glue in back with goalie Zach Overend.
The talk of the league until the two late losses, the Saints no longer have the pressure of completing a perfect season. A valuable week to recharge and a confident group could make for a title run.
No. 8 Severn (10-6, 5-5) at No. 2 Calvert Hall (13-4, 7-3)
Time: 4 p.m.
Outlook: The teams head into the playoffs going in opposite directions, with Calvert Hall closing the regular-season with six straight league wins and Severn losing four straight. In the mix was the Cardinals’ convincing 16-4 home win over the Admirals on May 6.
The Cardinals have overcome early-season injuries to join the title conversation. Standout Truitt Sunderland is the focal point with Shuey Kelly, back from a wrist injury, and midfielders Jordan Wray, Wyatt Hottle and Davis Provost keys on offense. Freshman goalie Brady Stangle has gotten better every day after taking over in the middle of the season.
The Admirals, who started out 5-1 in league play, will not back down despite their tailspin. Senior Jake Todd leads the attack, while faceoff specialist Gunner Foote and goalie Will Perez can more than hold their own.
A week removed from Calvert Hall’s lopsided win, Friday’s first quarter will be more vital than usual. Do the Cardinals pick up where they left off, or will the Admirals be able to settle in and play their game?
No. 6 McDonogh (10-6, 6-4) at No. 3 Archbishop Spalding (12-4, 7-3)
Time: 6 p.m.
Outlook: Having won four of its past five games, Spalding appears to be peaking at the right time. The Cavaliers also have the added motivation to bring home the program’s first crown after losing last year’s title game. McDonogh, a perennial power that was ranked No. 1 in The Baltimore Sun’s preseason poll, had an uneven regular season and qualified for the playoffs with wins over John Carroll and Gilman. It sets up an interesting quarterfinal between two teams capable of finding their top form and making a title charge.
Two of the country’s top attackmen will face off, with Spalding senior Michael Weisshaar, last year’s C. Markland Kelly Award winner, matching up against McDonogh junior McCabe Millon, the No. 1 ranked prospect in the Class of 2023 by Inside Lacrosse. Both players have strong support and the small details could decide the outcome. Possession time and tempo will play a big role.
The Cavaliers’ dynamic attack also boasts Ryan Schrier and Nick Gutierrez, while the Eagles will look to stay patient on attack with Luke Miller and a deep midfield led by Matt McMillen and Hugh Brown.