Game in and game out, the senior long-stick midfielder made a positive impact. He had to be accounted for on defense, on offense, in transition, at the faceoff box and on a wing for faceoffs. Burlace’s work drove the No. 2 Saints (12-6) to a runner-up finish in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
The four-year starter and captain had 12 goals, 10 assists, 71 ground balls, 21 caused turnovers and won 27 faceoffs. Throughout his career, he rarely left the field.
“We have not found a player that puts the film study in, the work in the weight room, the stickwork, the work ethic — he’s put everything together and he’s capable of running a full 48 minutes,” St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly said.
“I just think a long-stick middie that can affect the game on all 110 yards is really valuable,” Loyola Blakefield coach Gene Ubriaco said. “BJ’s a guy that plays wing on faceoffs, can go back and cover your best offensive player and then likely outscore him on the offensive end. When you have a player that impactful, it’s such a luxury.”
Perhaps the most vital quality Burlace brought to the Saints was leadership with his year-round commitment, positive words and fearless play setting a tone. It started in his freshman year when the Saints were rebuilding and won only one game. Lilly said Burlace’s ability to keep the players together was instrumental in the program’s success.
Calvert Hall, junior, midfielder
On a stacked team that won an unprecedented third straight MIAA A Conference championship in dominant fashion, the junior midfielder managed to stand out. He did it with his athleticism. He did it with his versatility. He did it with his confidence. He did it with his competitiveness.
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Herbert, who stood out both ends of the field and as a wing on faceoffs, finished his third varsity season with 16 goals, 39 assists and 42 ground balls as the No. 1 Cardinals (17-1) went a perfect 12-0 in league play. In addition to being named Co-Player of the Year, he was also the recipient of the C. Markland Kelly Award earlier this month as the top high school lacrosse player in Maryland.
“I think he’s the best two-way middie in the country. I can’t imagine anybody being better than him right now in high school lacrosse,” Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said. “He just had a presence about him in that he played with not an arrogance, but with confidence. The guys really looked up to him, and he led by example.”
Also a standout wide receiver for the Calvert Hall football team, Herbert brought a temperament to the lacrosse field that set a fierce tone. He capped the season with a two-goal, three-assist performance in the Cardinals’ 15-7 win over St. Mary’s for the league crown.
“From my standpoint, Cole is the motor of a Corvette that keeps Calvert Hall running, and the faster he goes, the faster that team goes,” St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly said. “He’s a player that pushes our team to its limits because he pushes you around and competes hard. To me, he is the one person that most makes the Calvert Hall team go.”