by Nelson Coffin
Every year, the final day of the MIAA A Conference lacrosse season boasts showdowns between traditional arch-rivals, and this Tuesday will be no different with the Calvert Hall College-Loyola Blakefield, Boys’ Latin School-St. Paul’s School and Gilman School-McDonogh School battles featured.
Only one of those contests, however, will have an extra measure of juice because of playoff considerations and that’s because No. 5 Boys’ Latin rallied from a pair of three-goal deficits in the second half to top fourth-ranked Gilman, 12-11, Saturday afternoon at J. Duncan Smith Field in Roland Park.
Freshman attackman Dominic Pietramala led the Lakers (10-6 overall, 6-3 MIAA A), scoring three of his game-high four goals during a 5-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters that helped BL overcome a 9-6 deficit. The comeback secured a playoff spot for the Lakers, who were runner-up last season.
Another key component to BL’s win was the play of seniors Kevin Davis and Winston Chodnicki and sophomore AJ Hernandez is support of sophomore FOGO Mackenzie Moreland, who more than held his own against Gilman junior Nick Tussing at the faceoff ‘X’ in the second half after BL coach Brian Farrell brought two poles to help on the wings.
Davis not only scored in the opening 10 seconds of the third quarter in what Farrell called a “huge” goal, the Widener commit also body-checked the ball away on post-faceoff scramble later in the period that ended up with the Lakers netting a goal by junior midfielder Cole Erickson in an unsettled situation to pull within 9-7.
Davis said that the Lakers could have locked up a playoff bid earlier in the week, but were upset by 11th-ranked Archbishop Spalding, 9-5.
“We didn’t come in prepared,” he said. “And we didn’t play hard enough, so we knew we had to win the next game in front of us — and that was Gilman.
Pietramala followed Davis’ key play by converting a feed from junior midfielder Ryan Evans for an extra-man goal before the freshman standout whistled in the equalizer on an assist from sophomore attackman Ben Smith with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Lakers took the lead early in the final period when fellow sophomore attackman Garrett Glatz found Smith for the go-ahead score.
Pietramala finished the run on a lefty rocket that zoomed over the shoulder of Gilman senior goalie Noah Klein, who made a pair of spectacular saves late in the third quarter and finished with eight overall.
Trailing, 11-9, the Greyhounds inched closer on junior attackman Sam King’s goal and then squandered a 6-on-4 advantage with under five minuted remaining in regulation.
Glatz quick-sticked the final goal on a feed from Spencer before Gilman senior midfielder Will Godine closed out the scoring with less two minutes to go.
Gilman coach Brooks Matthews said that he liked the way how his team competed while also crediting BL for upping its energy in the second half.
Pietramala’s strong second half was not surprising.
“He’s a great shooter,” Matthews said. “And he doesn’t need much room to get his shot off. He made the most of his opportunities.”
In what amounts to a play-in match, Gilman (9-6, 5-4 MIAA A) travels to McDonogh (5-4 MIAA A) Tuesday, with the winner securing the sixth and final playoff spot. Top-ranked Calvert Hall (9-0 MIAA A), which plays Loyola Blakefield (6-3 MIAA A) on “Rivalry Tuesday,” has the No. 1 seed, looking to a claim an unprecedented third straight MIAA A title.
No. 3 St. Mary’s (7-2 MIAA A; plays Mount St. Joseph Tuesday) has the 2nd seed locked up. Boys’ Latin can secure the No. 3 seed with a victory over second-ranked St. Paul’s, in the team’s 102nd meeting Tuesday. The Lakers can do no worse than the 5th seed, depending on Tuesday’s outcomes.
It’s the same deal for St. Paul’s, which would claim the No. 3 seed with a victory over BL and a Calvert Hall triumph over Loyola.
The Dons can get the No. 3 seed with a victory over Calvert Hall and a win by St. Paul’s. Loyola can finish no worse than the No. 6 seed.
Gilman would be 5th or 6th seed if they beat McDonogh. McDonogh, which started 0-4 in MIAA A play, will be the 6th seed, if successful Tuesday at home.
NO. 5 BOYS’ LATIN SCHOOL 12, NO. 4 GILMAN SCHOOL 11