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Breaking down the MIAA A Conference lacrosse playoffs

Another Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference lacrosse regular season came to a close Tuesday, setting the stage for the playoffs to begin Friday with quarterfinal round play.

In earning first-round byes, No. 1 McDonogh (13-4, 9-1 MIAA), the top seed, and No. 2 Calvert Hall (14-3, 8-2), the defending champs and second seed, advance to Tuesday's semifinals at Towson Univeristy's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

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That leaves two matchups for Friday's opening round. No. 3 Loyola Blakefield (13-5, 7-3), the third seed, hosts No. 5 Severn (8-6, 5-5), the sixth seed. No. 4 Boys' Latin (12-4, 7-3), the fourth seed, hosts No. 6 St. Mary's (11-5, 6-4), the fifth seed.

Here's a closer look at the top two seeds and Friday's quarterfinal round matchups:

McDonogh

The league runner-up to defending champion Calvert Hall last season, the Eagles rattled off nine straight wins after opening its league schedule with a loss to St. Mary's. What has made them highly successful in recent years continued this season as they are deep all over the field and can maintain a high level of play at both ends for four quarters.

The Eagles have a big senior class, which often makes a difference. All-Metro first-team selections BJ Farrare (long-stick midfielder), Chris Smith (defenseman) and Jack Simmons (midfielder) lead the way. They've also received plenty of production from underclassmen playing important roles with sophomore faceoff specialist Gable Braun and junior goalie Evan Long.

In Tuesday's semifinal, McDonogh will take on the Boys' Latin-St. Mary's winner with game time set for 5 p.m.

Calvert Hall

Injuries slowed the defending champions some early, but they hit their stride with five straight wins to end the regular season. With the bye on the line in Tuesday's game against Loyola Blakefield, the Cardinals dominated the Dons in the second half to pull out a comfortable 10-4 home win. The team's strength is on offense and senior attackman Jacob Kelly, last year's All-Metro Player of the Year, is the centerpiece that makes it go. The Cardinals have plenty of firepower surrounding him and when the ball is moving swiftly, they are tough to stop. Attackman Daniel Kelly, and midfielders Cole Herbert, Grant Mitchell and Jack Sawyer – all underclassmen — have consistently produced. Defenseman George Walsh and goalie Liam Darragh, both seniors, provide valuable experience in back. Calvert Hall meets the Loyola Blakefield-Severn winner Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The Cardinals beat both teams in the regular season.

Friday's quarterfinal games

Severn at Loyola Blakefield

Time: 4:15 p.m.

The host Dons were cruising – winning seven straight league games to enjoy first place before closing out the season with away losses against McDonogh and Calvert Hall to finish in third place. During the winning stretch, they grinded out a 6-5 overtime win at Severn on April 13. A strong senior class leads the home team — Ryan Dunn, Alex Reid, Connor Hume and Liam Bateman are the catalysts – and there's added motivation with coach Ben Rubeor, a 2004 alum, set to step down after the season. He led the Dons to the semifiinals in each of his first two seasons. The Admirals, under first-year coach Joe Christie, made an impressive late push with three wins in their last four games to snag the final playoff spot. Needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Admirals closed out the regular season with a dominant 15-9 win over archrival St. Mary's behind a six-goal performance from senior Dylan Gergar. Having not played since Friday, the Admirals will come to Loyola Blakefield well rested.

St. Mary's at Boys' Latin

Time: 4:15 p.m.

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The host Lakers have the tradition and pedigree – 10 league championships including four in the MIAA – to go with a quality senior class, while the Saints have proven to be a resilient bunch. All-Metro seniors Matt Brandau (attackman), Michael Ubriaco (midfielder) and Chris Brandau (goalie) provide the nucleus for the Lakers with sophomore attackman Brendan Grimes a pure finisher. Boys' Latin closed with three straight wins, starting the string with an 11-6 win at St. Mary's on April 27. The Saints are two years removed from a one-win season, but are distancing themselves from that. They have talented players capable of taking over a game. All-Metro junior midfielder Ian Krampf is the catalyst. Senior goalie Aleric Fyock regularly frustrates opposing attaks with spectacular saves and senior attackman Taylor Bohanan is a consistent scoring threat. The Saints, who won the league title in 2015 before the trying 2016 season, are looking to take another step forward after reaching the quarterfinal round last season.

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