Baltimore Boys Cruise Past Rivals in UA Tournament
Two thrilling finals hallmarked a Baltimore sweep on Sunday for both the boys and girls at the 2014 Under Armour Underclass Tournament, a high school lacrosse showcase that was held at Towson University.
The Baltimore girls played three consecutive games on Sunday, capping off the tournament with a 9-8 overtime win over Long Island, while the Baltimore boys held off a late Philadelphia rally to win its championship 12-11.
The Baltimore boys' team provided drama for their fans as well, advancing to the finals with a perfect 5-0 record, but four of those wins came by only a single tally.
After taking down the South in the semifinals, Baltimore and Philadelphia squared off in the championship game with a back-and-forth first half, but Philly earned the 5-4 edge at the break.
Continuing that trend after halftime, Baltimore and Philadelphia leveled the score at 10 apiece after trading the first 11 goals of the second half.
|The Baltimore boys joined their female counterparts as they swept the Under Armour Underclass Tournament. (John Strohsacker)|
Taking the lead for Baltimore, Alexander Roesner (Loyola Blakefield/Penn) scored four goals, one of which was tallied with a behind-the-back shot as he was falling down with two defensemen draped all over him.
"I feel like our team finally got the feel for each other and started moving the ball well," said Roesner. "I had a lot of good guys around me to feed me the ball... They kept jamming it inside and it worked out I guess."
Following a Philadelphia goal which tied the game at 10, Ethan Mintzer (Calvert Hall/Maryland) scooped up the ground ball off the faceoff and ran down the field, playing give-and-go with attackman Cole Williams (Loyola Blakefield/Johns Hopkins) before finishing off the play with the eventual game-winning goal.
After Baltimore racked up a two-goal advantage at 12-10, long pole Jake Peden (Downingtown East/North Carolina) kickstarted a late rally for Philadelphia by scooping up a ground ball off a failed clear and then sprinting coast-to-coast to beat Baltimore goaltender and tournament MVP AJ Barretto.
Still trailing by one with 18 seconds left, Philadelphia called a timeout. But while Philly tried to devise a game plan, the Baltimore boys were on their toes as well.
In the huddle, Baltimore boys' coach Jimmy Creighton told his team to stay disciplined and win the matchup, and if the opportunity to clear the ball presented itself, not to hesitate.
On the ensuing play, Baltimore caused a turnover and then fired the ball down the field, preventing Philly from getting off one final shot as the clock ticked down.
"There were so many things you want to say; you don't want to leave any stones unturned, but we told them to win your one-on-one matchups because they were going to try and isolate," said Creighton. "Tommy Miller did a great job of sliding hard and checking down on the hands and then Ethan Mintzer picks it up and launches it down the field. That's what we told them. If there's a loose ball, launch it to the corner and that's it. Game over."
Barretto, who stifled Philadelphia on multiple occasions throughout the game and even set up a goal for Roesner early on during the second half, credited his defense for giving him good looks and said the team never wavered once throughout the weekend.
"Everyone stayed calm and we believed in ourselves," Barretto said. "Our defense was solid, they gave up barely any shots that I couldn't save. I think all around our team effort [was good]. We just stayed calm and our composure was good."
Creighton spoke very highly of his team, noting their character and how easily it was for them to form a bond.
"There was a lot of grit and scrappy play," said Creighton. "These guys play with each other through club and a lot of them played high school ball together. At practice, it was like they'd been together for longer than we have been the way they were acting."
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