No. 9 Severn downs Spalding, 8-3, in the PNC Lacrosse Invitational to open MIAA A Conference schedule (VIDEO HERE!)
by Gary Adornato
Take away the honor of playing in the PNC Lacrosse Invitational on a college stage at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex and remove the fact that the game will be televised on a taped delayed basis.
The most relevant point about Saturday’s battle between No. 9 Severn School and 14th-ranked Archbishop Spalding, won by the Admirals, 8-3, is that it kicked off the 2018 MIAA A Conference lacrosse league schedule. In fact, on March 24th, it was already a must-win for both teams.
With so many nationally ranked powers in the A Conference there is often no margin for error for the Admirals and Cavaliers in their annual quest to reach the league playoffs and both squads know, they do not have the luxury of losing to the other.
With that as the backdrop, Severn (2-1 overall) broke open a defensive battle with six second half goals, including three by senior Dylan Gergar, to win this match-up of Anne Arundel County powers.
“We knew there was going to be a lot of jitters with the venue, with the crosstown rivalry, and we knew our defense was stout,” said Severn coach Joe Christie. “So, it was a matter of valuing the ball and making good decisions with the ball. There is not quit in these guys. We’ve got great senior leadership and I think it really showed in the second half.”
Although Severn dominated possession in the first quarter the game was scoreless until Jake Lilly fed Joel Mandish to put the Admirals on the board with just 9.8 seconds left in the first stanza.
The defenses continued to dominate in the second quarter until Russell Melendez scored an unassisted goal for Spalding (3-2 overall), with 5:13 to play in the first half, tying the contest at 1-1. Severn was whistled for slashing on the scoring play, giving Spalding possession and an extra-man opportunity. However, Severn’s Henry Rentz turned the tables by scoring a man-down goal, pushing Severn back into the lead and the Admirals never surrendered it.
Severn held its 2-1 lead for nearly the first eight minutes of the third quarter before Gergar broke through with his first goal of the night, with an assist from Danny Boldt and the lead move to 3-1. Niklas McFarland, with an assist from Joshua Tang, pulled Spalding back within one, but Gergar scored again and the Admirals entered the final quarter with a 4-2 advantage.
“For my goals that I scored, we ran through the offense a couple of times and we get through the cycle,” said Gergar. “That’s what we’ve been preaching all year; we get through it two or three times and there is no slide on a dodge, on a one-on-one match-up, and its straight to the goal.”
Gerger got his third score of the night in the first minute of the fourth quarter and the lead continued to build as the Admirals went up 8-2, before Dan Shay added a late goal for the Cavaliers.
When asked if this group of Admirals can make a playoff run, senior Joel Mandish, who had a goal and an assist in the win, said the team’s senior leadership gives them confidence.
“I believe we can because we have great senior leadership,” said Mandish. “That’s Dylan, me, Jake Lilly, Cooper Emmons, Charlie Marculewicz. We’ve all been playing together. It’s great to be playing in our first league game and getting a W.”
Collin Ervin added two late goals for Severn, while Lilly, Mandish and Henry Rentz each scored one.
“It was a huge win,” added Christie. “First league game, crosstown rival, playing it this early. Normally we’re in April and there’s not snow on ground. Then, coming out of a week where we were indoors for two of the days and we had a game cancelled. It was just a gutsy all-around effort and the groundball stat (31-14 Severn) speaks to the way these guys grind and we’re going to continue to do that for the rest of the season.”
According to Spalding coach Brian Phipps, once a standout goalkeeper for Severn, his defense wore down under the weight of their inability to clear.
“Defensively and goalie played very well in the first half, but half of the job on the defensive side is clearing the ball and getting it to the other side,” said Phipps. “We failed there and a 50% clearing game is not going to help us. We played good defensively, except we had to play three times the amount of defense throughout the game, so they wore down on us.
“Credit to Severn for playing hard and forcing us into bad decisions. We’ll learn from this and we have a lot of younger guys who will learn from this experience and we’ll get better.”
In addition to Melendez and McFarand, Dan Shay scored for the Cavaliers.
PNC LACROSSE INVITATIONAL
AT RIDLEY ATHLETIC COMPLEX, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY
NO. 9 SEVERN SCHOOL 8, NO. 14 ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 3
AS 0 1 1 1 — 3
SEV 1 1 2 4 — 8
GOALS: ARCHBISHOP SPALDING-Niklas McFarland 1, Russell Melendez 1, Dan Shay 1; SEVERN-Dylan Gergar 3, Collin Ervin 2, Jake Lilly 1,Joel Mandish 1, Henry Rentz 1.
ASSISTS: ARCHBISHOP SPALDING-Joshua Tang 1; SEVERN-Danny Bolddt 1, Kain Domenech 1, Jake Lilly 1, Joel Mandish 1.
SAVES: ARCHBISHOP SPALDING-Nate Hutchinson 9; SEVERN-Cooper Emmons 6.
FACE-OFFS: Severn 9-6.
GROUNDBALLS: Severn, 31-14.
SHOTS: Severn, 30-20.