Nike/US Lacrosse Mid-Atlantic Region Report
by Mike Loveday | LaxMagazine.com
Connor Cunningham, Hereford (Md.)
Hereford's goalie was brilliant in net to help his team to a 7-6 victory over nationally ranked Gilman (Md.). Cunningham made 17 saves and played the entire game (he usually splits time). The Hofstra commit held Gilman to just two goals in the first half and sent the Bulls into the break with a 3-2 lead.
Weston Butcher, Severna Park (Md.)
In another big win for a Maryland public school, Butcher helped his team defeat MIAA's Severn 9-8 with a four goal performance. Butcher scored the game-winning goal with little more than four minutes remaining in the game and gave the team one of the biggest wins in program history. The Falcons win was the program's first win over Severn in 33 years.
Matt Rambo, La Salle College (Pa.)
The No. 1 senior in the nation is pushing for the Explorers to be considered the No. 1 team in the nation through two games. In a game against nationally ranked Garden City, Rambo had two goals and two assists in the second half to spark visiting La Salle to a 7-4 victory. In La Salle's first game of the year the Maryland commit tallied five points on three goals and two assists in a 9-6 win over DeMatha (Md.).
Games to Watch
Salesianum (Del.) at Malvern Prep (Pa.) - April 4
Salesianum has won the last two Delaware state championships, but a win over Malvern Prep would be a boon to the program's stature. The Friars and Sals have met twice (2010, 2012) and Malvern is 2-0. The Friars have outscored the Sals 17-8. The game could be a defensive title fight with Malvern's talent lying on the defensive end and the three of the Sals six Division I commits also on defense.
Hereford (Md.) at Loyola-Blakefield (Md.) - April 2
Hereford can make an even bigger statement with a win over Loyola-Blakefield. With a win the Bulls will have won two of three games over MIAA opponents this season, including two nationally ranked programs. The Dons already have losses to Malvern Prep (Pa.) and Garden City (N.Y.) and with the conference schedule looming do not want to drop too many early games. The outcome won't mean much to either team's title hopes, but bragging rights are on the line.
Delbarton (N.J.) at St. Anthony's (N.Y.) - April 6The Green Wave don't play many out-of-state teams this season, but when they do they're going for the best. The game against St. Anthony's will just be Delbarton's second of the season after opening on April 3 against a Ridgewood team that was a New Jersey Tournament of Champions semifinalist last year. The Friars started the season 2-0 and received scoring from 13 different players thus far. Dylan Molloy has eight points through two games (four goals, four assists).
1. Boys' Latin (Md.), 7-0
The Lakers survived all-comers the last two weeks, defeated two nationally-ranked teams and the best team in Canada. Coach Bob Shriver's squad first took down The Hill Academy (Canada) 11-10 then followed it up with a win over Culver Academy (Ind.) 11-9. Keegan O'Connor led the Lakers with four goals in the win over Culver.
2. La Salle College (Pa.), 2-0
Matt Rambo totaled five assists on three goals and two assists as the Explorers started their season with a 9-6 win over DeMatha (Md.). If there was any doubt about La Salle's ability to cope without Sean Coleman, it was put to rest with a 7-4 victory over nationally ranked Garden City (N.Y.).
3. St. Paul's (Md.), 8-0
If Boys' Latin wasn't off to such a hot start the Crusaders might be in line as the hottest team in the nation. Mikey Wynne tallied 17 points in three games last week to help St. Paul's start its season 8-0.
4. Gonzaga (D.C.), 7-2
The Purple Eagles survived a tough stretch of their schedule with just two losses in a five game stretch. Only losses to Hill Academy and Boys' Latin have held them back from a Top 5 national ranking. A 10-8 win over Calvert Hall and wins over conference opponents have Gonzaga ready for another rough stretch. Coach Casey O'Neill takes his team against McDonogh (Md.), Georgetown Prep (Md.) and Landon (Md.) in the next three games.
5. Delbarton (N.J.), 0-0
Ten players in the senior class and five in the junior class will move on to play in college. Anchored by defender Will Reynolds (Princeton). Plays St. Anthony's (N.Y.), Chaminade (N.Y.) and Fairfield Prep (Conn.) this year.
6. Malvern Prep (Pa.), 2-0
The Friars got two goals each from Tommy O'Connor and Sparky Hilburn as they earned a 7-4 win over Bullis (Md.). The win helped Malvern Prep improve to 2-0 on the season, which includes a win over nationally ranked Loyola-Blakefield.
7. Calvert Hall (Md.), 2-2
After starting the season 0-2 the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association champions fought their way back to .500 in style. The Cardinals outscored their last two opponents by a combined 30-5. In a 20-2 win over McCallie (Tenn.) sophomore Timmy Kelly led the way with three goals and two assists.
8. Hereford (Md.), 3-1
The Bulls put together the toughest schedule for a Maryland public school this season and reaped the benefits with a 7-6 win over MIAA powerhouse Gilman (Md.). Goalie Connor Cunningham made 17 saves and Jack Adams had four points on two goals and two assists. Hereford's only loss of the came to St. Paul's 8-4. The Bulls led 4-2 at halftime against the Crusaders. An April 2 game against Loyola-Blakefield will be coach Brian King's third against the MIAA this season.
9. Loyola-Blakefield (Md.), 4-2
The Dons lost a tightly-fought contest to nationally ranked Garden City (N.Y.) 6-5 last week, but rebounded with a 12-9 win over Episcopal Dallas (Texas). The out-of-state matchups don't slow down as Loyola plays teams from Pennsylvania and New York in two of its next three games. Only a home game against Hereford (Md.) is against an in-state opponent.
10. Gilman (Md.), 3-1
The Greyhounds were running away and appeared headed for a potential national championship run ... then they met the Bulls. William McBride scored three goals and the Greyhounds got goals from three other players, but fell to Hereford 7-6. No need to feel too sorry for Gilman as they can climb back up the rankings with games against Landon (Md.) and La Salle College (Pa.) this week.
News and Notes
The Panthers roar into competition
Paul VI (Va.) has been a solid program, winning at least 10 games in each of the previous five years.
But that was not enough for the current group of seniors and first-year head coach Bob Waters discovered that quickly.
"I did an offsite retreat with the seniors. I wanted to know what they wanted to accomplish. They told me they felt they'd really underperformed in their career and they told me they wanted to play a challenging schedule," Waters said. "They said they really wanted to play for a championship."
Paul VI has never won a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship nor a Virginia Independent School Conference, but this group led by its new head coach is hoping to change that.
Waters is in his first year as a varsity high school head coach after spending the previous six seasons as an assistant at Chantilly (Va.). Waters took early retirement from his career at Northrop Grumman and while he wasn't looking for a head coaching job the pull from Paul VI proved too strong.
"They [administrators at the school] said what they were looking for was someone to emphasize the values of the school," Waters said. "It just appealed to me so I felt it was the right thing to do."
Waters inherited a strong group of 16 seniors that included Warrior 40 alumnus and LSM Ethan Powley (Duke) in addition to FoGo William Biagi (Michigan), goalie Zachary Tuell, midfiedler Nick Carpenter (Georgetown), attacker Logan Aunon (Delaware) and Furman commits Tim Knowles (defense) and Scott Primeau (midfield). Connor Murphy on attack is also committed to Rutgers.
"We [the coaching staff] had to convince them to be an elite team it couldn't be this guy or that guy. It had to be about a team. We had to play great team defense," Waters said. "We've spent a lot of time teaching basic techniques. We're going to get better every week. We're still implementing our system and concepts."
The early results are favorable.
The Panthers put themselves on the national radar with a 7-5 victory over nationally ranked Georgetown Prep – a feat the program had never accomplished. With upcoming games against Landon (Md.), Mount St. Joseph (Md.) in addition to conference opponents Gonzaga (D.C.) and DeMatha (Md.), the Panthers will need to continue to improve. They are not likely to sneak up on anyone at this point.
"I've told them to not get too full of themselves. The polls dont' matter until May," Waters said. "Right now we've got a lot of momentum and we're going to ride that out. We have as much talent as anybody. Our Top 10 is as good as anybody."
If Paul VI is to continue their hot-streak they have to do it without Powely who broke his jaw in two places during the Georgetown Prep game. The senior is expected to miss 6-8 weeks and Waters hopes to have him back in time for the final few games of the regular season and a potential playoff run.
Finishing the run
Delbarton (N.J.) finished 16-7 and reached the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title game last year, but fell to Bridgewater-Raritan 11-5. The team allowed double-digits in goals just five times, but three of those games resulted in losses.
This year the defense should once again be a team strength, but the offense should be equally improved.
"We had a nice year last year. Especially the playoff run. On paper we have a lot of our starters returning, including our scorers," coach Chuck Ruebling said. "It's a wonderful group of seniors and they really drive the ship. They're determined to have a successful season and when they do it everyone else kind of falls in line."
Among the returnees is All-American defender Will Reynolds (Princeton) and goalie John Schisler (Hamilton). Austin Williams (Harvard) is considered one of the better faceoff men in the state and won 78 percent of his faceoffs last season.
"He's as good as anyone we've had here," Ruebling said.
"We have depth all around. I think that's why we're cautiously optimistic," Ruebling added. "We have one starter and all of our defensive middies coming back. Two of three starters on defense, and our goalie is a three year starter.
The offense will be strong. We have 15 Division I guys and three or four of those are defenseman. Longpole and close defense will be strong as well with five guys on defense returning. We have a nice balance on team this year."
Delbarton begins its season against Ridgewood (N.J.) on April 3 and follows it up with a game against nationally ranked St. Anthony's (N.Y.) on the road.