In the MIAA A Conference lacrosse, anything can happen every Tuesday and Friday during the regular season. But what happened Monday in the semifinals was stunning.
No. 1 McDonogh School and second-ranked Boys’ Latin School stamped their ticket to Championship Friday with dominating performances at Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Field. The Lakers defeated fourth-ranked Severn School, 13-6, in the nightcap, while McDonogh posted a 20-6 decision over No. 3 Loyola Blakefield.
Jason Sarro had four goals and an assist for the Eagles (17-1 overall), and Jackson Morrill finished with two goals and four assists. Brendan Doyle and Johns Hopkins recruit Cole Williams each had two goals and an assist for the Dons.
In the biggest semifinal blowout since 2005, McDonogh put up nine second quarter goals en route to 14-2 halftime lead against the Dons, a team the Eagles defeated, 13-11, last month in Owings Mills. The 14-goal decision is the largest in the MIAA A final four since McDonogh’s 20-5 win over St. Paul’s School.
The Eagles went on to claim the crown – its last A title. After losing in the final a year ago, McDonogh’s determined to exorcise those bitter memories.
“It bothers us everyday. It bothered us all the winter, through workouts,” said Morrill, a senior attack. “That’s our end goal.”
The beginning of McDonogh’s road to redemption as well as the end Loyola’s season came in 13 seconds. Noah McCoy got the opening faceoff and fed Morrill for the game’s opening score. Less than 14 minutes in, the Eagles had a 6-0 advantage.
“It was really about our preparation all week, we had some really hard practices,” said McCoy, who won 14 of 20 at the X. “Coach Hilgy wanted the intensity to be there, come out right from the start and give it to them.”
They did it from all angles. Jackson Parr scored three goals, including one where he picked up teammate Barrett Sutley’s drop ball and put it in the goal for a 10-1 lead. It was 14-1 after Sarro finished a pass from Matt Woodson late in the first half.
McCoy won a faceoff and went down the field and scored with 3.3 seconds remaining in the third for a 19-5 advantage. Andrew Hurdle converted an extra-man opportunity, making it 20-5.
“We thought a fast start would be key for us. We needed to come into our practices with a lot of intensity – that’s something we’ve been focusing on the last week,” said Eagles coach Andy Hilgartner. “Things were clicking today. We made some big plays, got a couple of saves early that prevented them for getting on the board. Offensively, we shot the ball well and let it do a lot of work. We got the ball out of our sticks quick.”
Jack Simmons, Hurdle, Jack Sweeney and Penn State recruit Barrett Sutley each scored two goals for McDonogh, which out-shot the Dons, 23-12, in the opening. The Eagles won 21 of 28 faceoffs with junior Chris Wilson winning 7 of 8.
It was a 360-degree turn for Loyola (9-7), which won at Calvert Hall College Friday afternoon. The last time Dons coach Ben Rubeor was on the sidelines at Hopkins, he guided St. Mary’s to the MIAA A crown last year.
“I feel badly for the seniors who put so much into this. Give McDonogh credit for really playing well,” said Rubeor, completing his first season at his alma-mater. “I didn’t prepare my guys well enough and it’s a tough way to end.”
After rallying past Severn last month, Boys’ Latin had a much easier time in the rematch, securing a third finals trip in four seasons. Junior midfielder Greg Ey scored three goals for the Lakers (14-3) and Syracuse recruit Logan Wisnauskas contributed two goals and two assists.
Like McDonogh in the opener, BL scored the game’s first six goals to eliminate any suspense. The Lakers held off the Admirals, 8-7, in Anne Arundel County during the regular season after falling behind 5-0 in the first quarter.
“We were ready to come out the first whistle,” said Ey. “We were anxious.”
The Lakers won the opening faceoff and Ey finshed a pass from Luke Shilling, a little over a minute in. After a stop by goalie Jack Pezzulla (8 saves), longstick Mike Ubriaco got Pezzulla’s outlet, came downfield and scored.
Ey ripped a shot past Severn goalie Tyler Gilmore and Koby Russell placed a low shot in the corner, putting BL up 4-0. The Lakers got a faceoff break and sophomore Chris Brandau found longstick Andrew Murrow for another score.
Plagued early in the season with sluggish starts, Boys’ Latin coach Brian Farrell has seen his squad get off to more managable starts the last few weeks.
“That was a kick in the butt for us,” said Farrell of the last meeting with Severn. “We did a better job against the next couple of opponents coming out the gate. We always say start fast, finish strong and no excuses in between.”
Up 7-2 at halftime, BL got back-to-back tallies from Wisnauskas for a commanding 9-2 cushion. Luke Shilling had two goals and an assist while Brandau produced four points with a goal and three assists.
Tyler Perreten had a hat trick for Severn (16-7), and Charlie Olmert, Andrew Volk and Dylan Gergar each finished with a goal. The Admirals, who eliminated St. Paul’s School at Tullai Field last Friday, never got closer than five goals after opening 12 minutes on Monday.
“We never got into a rhythm and BL jumped all over us,” said McNealey. “Even when we had possession, we weren’t in our flow which is testament to their energy.”
Monday was the Admirals’ first MIAA A final four match in 15 years. A year ago, Severn was winless (0-9) in league play.
“The program wasn’t in shambles, but it was hard,” said McNealey. “The kids disciplined themselves and sacrificed themselves for a chance to be here and they did that.”
Two weeks after playing the best match of the MIAA A regular season, Boys’ Latin and McDonogh will decide the title in the nation’s toughest boys’ lacrosse league. The Eagles won 10-9 in double overtime in Owings Mills where BL controlled the first three quarters before McDonogh rallied in the fourth to force overtime.
“It’s the MIAA A championship,” said Farrell. “There’s really no words to describe it.”
MIAA A Conference semifinals
at Johns Hopkins University
No. 1 McDonogh School 20, No. 3 Loyola Blakefield 6
Goals: Loyola – Doyle 2, Williams 2, Goles, Hurley; McDonogh – Sarro 4, Parr 3, Hurdle 2, Simmons 2, Sweeney 2, Sutley 2, Dion, McDoy, Woodson
Assists: Loyola – Doyle, Dunn, Williams; McDonogh – Morrilll 4, Parr 2, Woodson 2, McCoy, Romefelt, Sarro
Saves: Loyola – Stout 5, Lorber 3; McDonogh – Lanier 10
Loyola Blakefield 0 2 3 1 – 6
McDonogh 5 9 5 1 – 20
No. 2 Boys’ Latin School 13, No. 4 Severn School 6
Goals: Severn – Perreten 3, Gergar, Olmert, Volk; Boys’ Latin School – Ey 3, Shilling 2, Wisnauskas 2, Brandau, Kaplin, Murrow, Mullally, Russell, Ubriaco
Assists: Severn – Lamon 2, Mandish, Perreten; Boys’ Latin – Brandau 3, Wisnauskas 2, Aburn, Mullally, Shilling
Saves: Severn – Gilmore 5; Boys’ Latin – Pezzulla 8
Severn 0 2 1 3 – 6
Boys’ Latin 5 2 2 4 – 13