Nike/US Lacrosse Boys' Mid-Atlantic Rewind
by Mike Loveday | LaxMagazine.com
Year-End Top 10
1. Loyola-Blakefield (Md.), 13-8
2. Boys' Latin (Md.), 19-1
3. Gonzaga (D.C.), 19-2
4. Malvern Prep (Pa.), 16-2
5. La Salle (Pa.), 23-2
6. Haverford School (Pa.), 15-7
7. McDonogh (Md.), 14-4
8. Gilman (Md.), 12-4
9. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.), 18-6
10. Salesianum (Del.), 17-2
Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year
Colin Heacock, Boys' Latin (Md.)
To be a three-year starter on a program that is consistently ranked among the nations best is an impressive feat. Heacock did that and more in his time at the Baltimore school.
The Maryland commit finished his career with the most prestigious award in the state when he was named the C. Markland Kelly award winner, given to the best high school player in Maryland.
Heacock scored 48 goals and dished out 24 assists for a Laker team that finished the season as Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) runner-up with a 19-1 record. The Lakers were 8-1 against teams in the Top 25 and much of that was due to Heacock and fellow attackman Shack Stanwick, who combined for 84 of the team's 268 goals this season. For his career Heacock totaled 156 points on 101 goals and 56 assists.
Heacock was named an Under Armour All-American, earned Baltimore Sun All-Metro first-team honors, is the Baltimore Messenger Co-Player of the Year, first-team Towson Times and All-MIAA.
Spotlight on ...
St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.)
The Saints began the year with high expectations, to repeat as Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division I champions and to win the IAC for the first time in program history.
In the first game of the year St. Stephen's defeated Episcopal Academy (Pa.), which was ranked in the Top 25, to signal their potential arrival. They proceeded to start the year 3-0 and won those games by a 28-9 margin.
But then three losses in their next four games, including ones to Penn Charter Pa.) and McDonogh (Md.) dropped them to 4-3 and their momentum amongst voters halted.
"The kids did have high aspirations and when they got off to a good start, they thought, 'OK, here we go.' When some of that first adversity hit, that shook them and they lost their confidence a bit," coach Andy Taibl said. "It wasn't a lack of them working hard, sometimes different groups gel differently. It just took us a little while to find it."
And find it they did. It just took a little longer than expected.
Taibl's squad posted wins over Delaware state champion Salesianum (Del.), but then dropped a 6-2 contest to Georgetown Prep (Md.). They followed with four-straight wins only to fall to Landon (Md.) 4-2. But a May 7 loss to Bullis (Md.) proved to be the final loss of the year.
"We did some things, moving some guys around and asking guys to move to different spots to get different guys involved," Taibl said. "There was not griping even though some guys were moving to attack to midfield. They slowly started to find their groove again. Once they started to play better we saw their confidence coming back. They were much more consistent."
The Saints finished the year on a six-game winning streak that included wins over Georgetown Prep and WCAC runner-up Paul VI (Va.). The win over Paul VI was for the VISAA title.
But the biggest win came just two days after the VISAA game, in a stretch in which the Saints played six games in 10 days.
With a 7-5 victory over Landon in the IAC championship game Taibl not only led his program to its first-ever IAC championship game, but also the programs first-ever win over Landon.
"One of the things that helped us was playing so many games in so many days. There wasn't a lot of time for them to think about who they were playing next," Taibl said. "It served them as a benefit. We wanted them to focus and understand the game plan. Don't get caught up in who you're playing. I did feel like going into the playoffs it was good for them to have less time to think about their opponent. There was a sense if they focused on themselves they could be in any game."
The win helped catapult the Saints into the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 25 and, along with Paul VI, helped serve notice that the Washington D.C. metro area might have at least two more teams to add to the national spotlight.
"Hopefully, it raises the level of expectations for our kids here. In terms of what they're able to accomplish. They're just as deserving as any of the programs in the area. It does show the kids that if they commit themselves to something they're able to do it," Taibl said. "It creates some new challenges as well. For our area it's a good thing. You've seen some other schools come on. I think it's only going to strengthen the resolve of schools like Prep and Landon. They're going to be pretty darn determined to keep their hold on the area."
Note: The Nike/US Lacrosse Regional rankings will not necessarily reflect the same order as the Nike/US Lacrosse National Top 25 poll, which is voted on by US Lacrosse area representatives and Lacrosse Magazine contributors. LM contributors compile the regional rankings.
This concludes the season-long look at the boys' Mid-Atlantic region.