St. Mary's Alex Wicks, left, runs away from St. Paul's Andrew Milani, right, during the third quarter of the visiting Saints' 11-9 MIAA A Conference victory.
St. Mary's Alex Wicks, left, runs away from St. Paul's Andrew Milani, right, during the third quarter of the visiting Saints' 11-9 MIAA A Conference victory. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

With a roster filled with upperclassmen who have logged plenty of Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference games, the St. Mary’s boys lacrosse team has found itself in just about every situation possible.

The No. 5 Saints welcomed the challenge of taking the long bus ride from Annapolis to Baltimore -- this time visiting No. 2 St. Paul’s on Tuesday, and doing whatever it took to grind out a win.

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When they fell behind by two goals early and the deficit was the same well into the second quarter, there was no panic – just some figuring out to do.

The Saints scrapped for ground balls, possessed the ball effectively, got sound play from goalie Wes Schmidt and got their attack in gear. St. Mary’s scored nine of 10 goals in the heart of the game, going on to claim a satisfying 11-9 win over St. Paul’s.

Senior attackman Ian Krampf scored three goals – including a pivotal one with 0.3 seconds left at the end of the third quarter – Schmidt finished with 10 saves and the Saints (5-3) improved to 2-0 in the MIAA. The Crusaders, who were coming off an impressive 12-9 win over previously undefeated McDonogh in their league opener on Friday, fall to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in league play. Krampf’s late third-quarter goal provided a 7-5 lead and was the start of a five-goal spurt that put the game away.

“We did a great job of always keeping our heads up and never getting too down,” Krampf said. “To get down two goals, some teams could really hang their head and play bad. The coaches did a great job and our teammates did a great job of keeping our heads up and pushing through and winning.”

The first momentum change came early in the second quarter when the Crusaders, leading 4-2, had a goal disallowed with a penalty coming their way instead. The Saints took advantage, closing the finals eight minutes of the first half with unanswered goals from Nick Lilly, Scout Ripley, Gabe Souza and Garrett Nilsen to take a 6-4 lead at halftime.

After St. Paul’s Seth Higgins cut the lead to 6-5 with 7:31 to play in the third quarter -- the Crusaders’ first goal in 15-plus minutes – Krampf came strong around the cage and finished on the late goal that the Saints built off in fourth quarter. Allen Hockenberry made it 8-5 with 8:43 left and faceoff specialist Zach Dudley won the ensuing draw and took it himself for another goal seven seconds later. The lead was 11-5 with 6:11 to play before the Crusaders scored the last four goals – the final one coming with seven seconds to play.

“Having the 13 seniors that we have and the 18 juniors and the two sophomores – those guys have a lot of MIAA A game experience and we lean on them heavy,” said St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly, rattling off a number of his standout seniors led by Krampf, Nilson, Alex Wicks, BJ Burlace. “You guys have been hearing those names for four years and if they can come together and do something it might be a fun spring.”

While St. Paul’s coach Trey Whitty said the disallowed goal in the second quarter was pivotal in changing the game’s momentum, he said his team’s inconsistent play over the course of the entire game was the difference. Senior attackman Andrew Milanie led the Crusaders with three goals, while goalie Jamie Grant turned back eight shots.

“We didn’t put ball in the net and made dumb mistakes defensively,” Whitty said. “Then as the game went on, they totally outclassed us, played more poised, played better team lacrosse, were better coached – that was it.”

Goals: SM – Krampf 3, Lilly 2, Ripley, Souza, Milsen, Hockenberry, Dudley, Burlace; SP – Sheehan 2, Milani 3, Barthelme, Higgins, Croft, Harry. Assists: SM – Nilsen, Hockenberry 2, Dunleavy; SP – Higgins, Barthelme, Harry. Saves: SM – Schmidt 10; SP – Grant 8. Half: SM, 6-4

Varsity roundup (April 2): No. 1 Calvert Hall blasts John Carroll, 15-2, for fifth straight lacrosse victory

Varsity roundup and scoreboard for games on April 2.

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