Baltimore boys and girls lax teams practically flawless at Under Armour event

by Nelson Coffin

Other than an 11-10 setback to Philadelphia on Friday morning in the girls Highlight Division at the 2018 Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Weekend at Towson University, the Baltimore boys and girls underclassmen teams have gone unbeaten at the premier event that attracts teams from regions across the country.

The girls from Charm City playing in the Highlight Division — reserved for rising seniors and juniors — made amends for the loss to Philly, however, by thumping the West, 15-5, later in the day behind two-goal efforts by attackers Libby May (Hereford), Victoria Hensch (Marriotts Ridge) and Lila Huddles (McDonogh) and midfielder Shannon Smith (Roland Park Country School).

Single goals were scored by Marissa Munson (John Carroll), Sophia Andropolous (Maryvale), Kelluy Schluderberg (Howard), Emma Tilson (McDonogh), Claire Bockstie (Maryvale), Kiki Shaw (RPCS), Whitney Albert (St. Mary’s), and Isabella Peterson (Hereford) in the rout.

Emily Sterling (John Carroll) recorded six saves for the Baltimoreans, who are now 1-1 in pool play with games against Conn-New York (CONNY) and Washington, D.C. tomorrow at the same site.

The other Baltimore teams, the boys Highlight and Command and girls Command have run the table so far.

The Highlight boys team opened its pool play by beating Philadelphia, 8-6, in its opener and followed that up with a 13-5 decision over the Midwest.

Baltimore trailed, 4-1, before closing the game on a 7-2 run.

Daniel Kelly (left) and Grant Mitchell are two of five Calvert Hall players leading the Baltimore Boys Highlight squad.

Rising junior attackman Daniel Kelly (Calvert Hall) paced the hometown squad against Philadelphia, scoring a game-high four goals before producing a five-goal, one-assist performance against the Midwest.

Ian Krampf (St. Mary’s) pitched in with four goals while fellow rising senior attackman Liam Powderly (McDonogh) was the trigger man for the Charm City crew, registering four assists.

Rising senior midfielders Grant Mitchell (Calvert Hall, 1 goal, 1 assist) and Alex Breschi (Loyola Blakefield, 1 goal) and rising junior attackman Brendan Grimes (Boys’ Latin, 2 goals) also powered the way to the win.

Kelly, whose dad, Bryan, is coaching the team, said that it makes things a bit easier having five of his Cardinal teammates on the squad.

“It helps a lot to have a group that you’ve already played with,” he said. “And then we’re just trying to get used to the new kids, too.”

Mitchell said that “things started to click” for the team later in the Midwest game.

After rising senior midfielder Kyle Beasley (Loveland, Ohio) scored to make it, 7-5, in the third quarter, Baltimore really picked up its play at both ends of the field while scoring the game’s final eight goals.

“When we move the ball, we’re pretty good,” said Bryan Kelly, who led the Cardinals to their second consecutive MIAA A Conference crown — and fourth since 2003 — in May. “We just have to take time to know one another. We’re not really running any plays. Our middies did a good job of drawing slides and finding the open man. We’ve been pretty unselfish. We just have to know that we’re not running the offense through any one guy.”

The Baltimore boys Command team moved to 3-0 in the tournament after routing the Midwest, 10-4, in the morning and then grinding out a hard-fought 5-4 triumph over Washington, D.C. under a scorching sun.

Hayden Miller

One of the smallest players on the field, 5-foot-5, 130-pound rising sophomore midfielder Hayden Miller (Loyola) was the hero, scoring the game-winner with three minutes left in regulation.

His second goal of the tournament — on his birthday, no less — was ripped in from about 13 yards.

“We found a gap in their defense and I shot it low,” Miller said. “We had been shooting high most of the game, and I went low and to the left.”

It didn’t seem to matter where the Baltimoreans shot in the first half because Washington’s rising sophomore goalie Will Barnes (Paul VI) made stop after stop, 10 in all, as the locals were held to goals by rising sophomore attackman Henry Tolker (McDonogh) and rising sophomore midfielders Charlie Koras (Loyola) and Kade Goldberg (Deerfield Academy) before the intermission.

The only goal in the second half before Miller’s dagger was by rising sophomore midfielder Kevin Tucker (Loyola), and that gave Baltimore a 4-2 lead before the Washingtonians tied it on goals by rising sophomore midfielder Dante Trader Jr. (Delmar, Del.) and rising sophomore attackman Michael Ridgway (Georgetown Prep).

With a win on Saturday against CONNY, Baltimore would earn a bye into the Command semifinals.

“That means I can sleep later on Sunday,” Miller said. “We have to get our rest to play well.”

The similarly undefeated Baltimore Command girls, who beat Washington, 10-4 and CONNY, 18-4, on Friday, face a similar situation when they square off against the winless West on Saturday.