No. 2 Boys’ Latin subdues Calvert Hall; Crouse records hat trick (VIDEO HERE!!)

Boys’ Latin’s Nick Lizana (right) tries to corral a groundball in front of Calvert Hall’s Zach Green during the first half of Friday’s MIAA A Conference lacrosse contest. The second-ranked Lakers snapped a two-game losing skid with an 8-5 decision over the third-ranked Cardinals at Federico Stadium in Baltimore City.

by Derek Toney
Boys’ Latin School is tied for the most A Conference lacrosse championships in the MIAA era. The Lakers were staring at the wrong kind of history Friday against Calvert Hall College.
After dropping its prior two league matches, No. 2 Boys’ Latin responded with an 8-5 victory over the third-ranked Cardinals at J. Duncan Smith Field in Roland Park. Air Force Academy-bound midfielder Brenden Crouse scored three goals for the Lakers (9-3 overall), and Matt Brandau added a goal and two assists.
Behind a solid effort on both ends, BL pulled away from the reigning league champ Cardinals in the second half, improving to 4-2 in the nation’s toughest lacrosse league. After losing to McDonogh School in the final seconds last Friday, the Lakers were dominated over the final three quarters in a 12-6 loss to Loyola Blakefield Tuesday.
“We called them out pretty hard in film study Wednesday and they responded,” said Boys’ Latin coach Brian Farrell. “I thought our midfielders did an excellent job of making plays, not only between the lines but on the offensive end.”
“We knew this was a gut check game and the way we bounce back would determine how the rest of the season will go,” said Laker goalie Chris Brandau.
Brandau, arguably the area’ s top goalie, was again brilliant with 13 saves, including a couple of man-down stops as the Lakers’ defense held Calvert Hall to two even-man scores.
The offense, led by Crouse, often answered every Calvert Hall push. He broke a 3-3 halftime deadlock, lacing a shot top right into the net while cutting across the middle.
Sophomore middle Cole Erickson bounced a shot past Cardinal goalie Liam Darragh, giving BL a 5-3 advantage with 8 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the third. Konner Caplin converted Matt Brandau’s feed for a man-up tally and three-goal advantage late in the third.
Crouse said a third straight loss wasn’t an option.
“Two games down in the MIAA A is a little scary to think about it, so right now, it’s game-by-game,” said Crouse. “The seniors, captains and coaches all challenging the team. Hard practice Wednesday, hard practice Thursday…get back to playing like a Laker.”
Calvert Hall sliced the deficit to 6-4 early in the fourth on Grant Mitchell’s goal. After Matt Brandau’s extra effort to maintain possession, Crouse completed his hat trick.
The last time BL dropped three straight was 2012 (lost four in a row). It’s believed the Lakers haven’t loss three consecutive MIAA A since the private league was formed in the mid-1990s after the dissolution of the MSA (Maryland Scholastic Association).
“It was a gut check. That’s what we kept telling the guys,” said Farrell, a former All-American defender for the University of Maryland who helped Boys’ Latin to the MIAA A title and national title (21-0) as a senior in 2006. “How tough are we? Can we dig deep and pull something out?”
Mitchell, a junior committed to Ohio State, had two goals and two assists for Calvert Hall (9-3, 3-2 MIAA A). Trailing 2-0 after one, the Cardinals scored three extra-man goals in a two-minute frame early in the second.
But the defending MIAA A champs struggled even-man against BL’s defense, leaving Calvert Hall longtime coach Brian Kelly frustrated.
“We could never get into a flow and it was an individual battle sometimes, you can’t win that way,” said Kelly, whose team won 13 of 15 faceoffs. “We have to re-evaluate and find guys that are going to play as a group.”

Chris Brandau’s 13 saves and three goals from Brenden Crouse (right) helped Boys’ Latin to victory Friday. The Lakers travel to Anne Arundel County Tuesday for a MIAA A match with No. 8 Severn School.

With no undefeated teams in MIAA A play (Calvert Hall and McDonogh School ran table in 2017 and 2016, respectively), it looks wide open with two weeks left in the regular season. BL is on road at eighth-ranked Severn School No. 5 St. Mary’s next week.
“This was a statement win, we needed it especially at home in front of a nice crowd,” said Chris Brandau, who will play for Georgetown next spring. “It’s our biggest win, but it’s still one game at a time.”
No. 2 Boys’ Latin School 8, No. 3 Calvert Hall College 5
Goals: Calvert Hall – G. Mitchell 2, D. Kelly, Illardo, C. Mitchell; Boys’ Latin – Crouse 3, M. Brandau, Ericsson, Grimes, Smith
Assists: Calvert Hall – G. Mitchell 2, Herbert, J. Kelly, C. Mitchell; Boys’ Latin – M. Brandau 2
Saves: Calvert Hall – Darragh 3, Marshall; Boys’ Latin – Brandau 13
Calvert Hall 0 3 0 2 – 5
Boys’ Latin 2 1 3 2 – 8