No. 1 Lakers get past Spalding in MIAA A lacrosse final rematch; Pietramala sparks fourth quarter effort (VIDEO HERE!)
by Derek Toney
Last May, Boys’ Latin School’s lacrosse seniors strapped up and carried the Lakers to the MIAA A Conference championship. In a rematch of last year’s title game with Archbishop Spalding Friday evening, BL’s vets again answered the call.
The top-ranked Lakers rallied for a 9-7 decision over the No. 4 Cavaliers in Severn. Senior attack Dominic Pietramala scored four goals for Boys’ Latin (9-2 overall, 4-1 MIAA A) and Brayden Garland tallied twice.
Trailing entering the fourth, the Roland Park school showed over the final 12 minutes why they’re the reigning champs in the nation’s toughest boys’ lacrosse league. Senior goalie Cardin Stoller stopped seven shots.
Tuesday, Boys’ Latin lost to No. 7 Severn School at J. Duncan Smith Field.
“That was a good Severn team that beat us…we challenged the guys to respond,” said Lakers coach Brian Farrell, whose team is ranked No. 4 nationally by Inside Lacrosse. “We talked about character, I thought Wednesday’s practice was amazing. A lot of kudos to the seniors and leaders of the team for getting the guys back to where we need to be.”
“In this league, anybody can win any game, I thought we responded really well,” said Pietramala. “We were down going into the fourth, but I won’t take anybody but our guys, we fight hard, we practice hard and it shows.”
Pietramala, the slick-handed University of North Carolina recruit, showed why he’s arguably the nation’s best player. With a defender riding him from the backside of the goal, Pietramala flicked a no-look over-the-shoulder shot into the goal, tying the game at 7 with 8 minutes, 34 seconds left in regulation.
Thomas Moxley won the ensuing faceoff for Boys’ Latin, and Garland, a senior midfielder, found space and put a low shot past Spalding goalie Connor McMahon, for the lead just 28 seconds after Pietramala’s score.
The Lakers got possession again after the faceoff. Pietramala, again defended closely, placed a laser from about 10 yards in the upper corner, extending the lead to 9-7 with 7:22 remaining.
Pietramala, a SportsCenter Top 10 highlight waiting to happen, gives all the credit to his teammates.
“They put me in a position where I can take shots like that and I can get to those spots on the field, so if it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t happen,” said Pietramala, son of legendary Johns Hopkins defenseman and coach Dave Pietramala.
Farrell said Pietramala, the No. 2 senior prospect in the nation according to Inside Lacrosse, has morphed since arriving at BL as a highly-touted freshman.
“He was a starter right away as a freshman, a slasher, a scorer, made a lot of plays. Last year, he had a lot of complimentary players…now he’s worked hard on all parts of his game,” said Farrell. “He’s become a complete attackman, feeding, riding, groundballls…he’s going to keep getting better.”
Mike Weishaar, the reigning C. Markland Kelly Award winner, equaled Pietramala with four goals for Spalding (8-3, 3-2 MIAA A). The Towson University-bound midfielder pulled the Cavaliers even at 6 with his fourth goal, off an assist from Race Ripley, in the third quarter.
About three minutes later Ripley gave the Anne Arundel County squad the lead. It would be the final tally for the Cavaliers, who were held scoreless by BL over the final 16 minutes of regulation.
Senior Nicky Brown intercepted a Spalding pass near midfield with about 2:15 left in regulation, and the Lakers were able to run out the remaining time.
Laker senior long stick Owen Holder, credited his short stick mates for slowing down Weisshaar and Spalding’s offense.
“Everybody played great, Cardin stepped up,” said Holder. “We came together when it got hard.”
In a spirited first half featuring four ties and five lead changes, Spalding led 5-4 after Weisshaar completed a hat trick with 3:32 before halftime.
Brown, after Pietramala’s shot hit the goal pipe, got a rebound and deposited the ball into the net, tying the game with 1:31 left in the second. Stoller dropped low to stop Ben Duffy’s shot and junior short stick Jacob Pacheco picked up the ball and sprinted downfield.
Pacheco passed to long stick Ben Foster who fired a shot past McMahon, with 1.5 seconds left, giving the Lakers a 6-5 advantage. Spalding regained the lead as Ripley, off a pass from Nick Guitterez, ripped a shot low past Stoller.
Then came the fourth quarter. The Lakers, who defeated three higher-seed teams, to capture the program’s first MIAA A crown since 2014 last May, showed their mettle.
“I’m impressed with how they responded, not being too hard on themselves, controlling their emotions,” said Farrell. “We talked a lot about that the last two days because of all that went into this game. It’s a MIAA A win and they’re hard to come by. That team (Spalding) is really good and we might see them again.”
Ripley finished with two goals and an assist for Spalding, and senior Ryan Schrier had a goal. The Cavaliers bested BL last regular season, part of a historic breakout campaign that ended with a first MIAA A championship appearance.
Spalding coach Brian Phipps thought his team didn’t match Boys’ Latin’s intensity in the final 12 minutes.
“They made us uncomfortable. They capitalized on the extra opportunities and we didn’t,” said Phipps. “Little disappointed in losing our composure, but we’re definitely going to learn from this and get better.”
No. 1 Boys’ Latin School 9, No. 4 Archbishop Spalding 7
Boys’ Latin 1 5 0 3 – 9
Spalding 2 3 2 0 – 7
Goals: Boys’ Latin – Pietramala 4, Garland 2, Brown, Foster, Crouse; Spalding – Weisshaar 4, Ripley 2, Schrier
Assists: Boys’ Latin – Pacheco; Spalding – Guitterez, Ripley
Saves: Boys’ Latin – Stoller 7; Spalding – McMahon 6