Boys’ Latin stuns Loyola with fourth quarter rally, advances to MIAA A lacrosse semis; Smith scores three goals (VIDEO HERE!)


Seniors Ben Smith (left) and Gavin McClernan and junior goalie Cardin Stoller were huge for Boys’ Latin lacrosse Saturday morning. The Lakers rallied from deficits of 5-0, 6-1 and 7-3 to knock off Loyola, 8-7, in a MIAA A Conference quarterfinal contest at Hargaden Field in Towson.

by Derek Toney

Boys’ Latin School lacrosse seniors know their careers won’t be fulfilled without a championship. Down five goals in the first quarter at Loyola, the proverbial clock was seemingly ticking hyperspeed for the Lakers.

In a season like no other, Boys’ Latin found a way, and a title remains very much in play. The Lakers defeated Loyola, 8-7, in a MIAA A Conference quarterfinal at Hargaden Field in Towson.

Senior midfielder Ben Smith had three goals and an assist for Boys’ Latin (8-4 overall), and Jacob Pacheco scored twice. Henry Tolker and Hayden Miller each tallied twice for Loyola (6-5).

Down four goals entering the fourth, the Lake Avenue school scored the final five goals – capped with Pacheco’s unassisted tally with 3 minutes, 17 seconds left in regulation – to complete a stunning comeback. The fifth-seeded Lakers are going to Annapolis Tuesday evening for a semifinal matchup with undefeated and top-seed McDonogh School at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

“We talk about grit all the time, it’s part of our culture, sticking with it no matter what,” said Boys’ Latin coach Brian Farrell. “We’ve had to battle through some tough injuries, having to sit out two weeks…it’s been an up and down road, but it’s made us stronger.”

“This means everything…we’ve been working for this for four years,” said Smith. “This team has come together at the right moment.”

Gavin McClernan started the season on the third team midfield line. The senior scored arguably the biggest goal of the Lakers’ season with an unassisted tally early in the fourth quarter to kick start the rally.

“We sat on the field after practice yesterday [Friday] thinking this could be our last game and we don’t want it to be,” said McClernan. “Pushing through adversity is something our team rallies behind.”

After McClernan’s tally, sophomore Thomas Moxley won the ensuing faceoff and passed off to Smith, who found Garrett Glatz and Glatz ripped a shot into the net, pulling Boys’ Latin to 7-5 with 10:37 remaining in regulation. Smith kept the momentum going with an unassisted score with 8:19 to play.

He tied it, getting free of teammate Hopper Zappitello’s pick and put a low shot past Loyola goalie Jack Webb with six minutes left in regulation. The Lakers’ defense, behind goalie Cardin Stoller’s four fourth quarter saves, kept the Dons’ offense in flux as BL was able to run out the final two minutes.

The first 12 minutes for BL was an utter disaster. Five different Dons scored in the first 10 minutes, and the ball deflected off a Laker player into the goal as time expired, making it 6-1 Loyola.

Goals from Mac Moreland and Smith brought Boys’ Latin within 6-3 early in the third quarter. Henry Tolker scored off a feed from Matt Burnam, and Loyola had a 7-3 advantage entering the fourth.

Off a restart, McClernan, starting from the backline, scored.

The Lakers didn’t stop.

“We felt like we were better with our attack man and felt we could get good looks from behind the goal,” said Farrell. “We thought we weren’t winning matchups up top.”

Seniors Kevin Tucker, Charlie Koras, TJ Gravante each scored for Loyola, which defeated BL at J. Duncan Smith Field last Sunday. After a valiant comeback fell short against Calvert Hall, the Dons dominated early Saturday.

But, by late morning, Loyola’s season was over.

“I thought Tuesday was the craziest lacrosse game I’ve been involved in in my life against Calvert Hall and today was just as crazy,” said Dons coach Gene Ubriaco, whose team was the fourth-seed. “I feel like for three quarters we had a masterpiece going, but I think we ran out of gas…they made a lot of plays coming down the stretch, a lot of things had to be executed for them the right way and they did it.”

Boys’ Latin, which has 19 seniors, will suit up again Tuesday against McDonogh, which got past St. Paul’s School Saturday. The Eagles defeated Boys’ Latin, 15-8, early last month.

“We started the season working at our coach’s farm in August and been working for this moment,” said McClernan. “Long three hours practice, two-a-days during spring break…it’s awesome to see everybody get the chance to go to Navy.”

MIAA A CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

BOYS’ LATIN SCHOOL 8, LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD 7

Goals: Boys’ Latin – Ben Smith 3, Jacob Pacheco 2, Garrett Glatz, Gavin McClernan, Mac Moreland; Loyola – Hayden Miller 2, Henry Tolker 2, TJ Gravante, Charlie Koras, Kevin Tucker

Assists: Boys’ Latin – Glatz, Smith, Thomas Moxley; Loyola – Matt Burnham

Saves: Boys’ Latin – Cardin Stoller 9; Loyola – Jack Webb 12

Boys’ Latin 1 1 2 4 – 8

Loyola 5 1 1 0 – 7