If St. Mary's boys lacrosse coach Jim Moorhead needs any advice on rebounding from a tough defeat, he should sit down with Severn's Peter Trau, who could give a lecture on the subject.
Trau's Admirals, an upset winner over Boys' Latin on Saturday after a pair of one-goallosses, entertain the Saints at 3:45 p.m. today in a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference showdown.
With Moorhead at the helm, the Saints (6-1 overall, 2-1 in conference) have taken nine of 13 games against the Admirals (12-2, 1-2). They won last year's regular-season meeting, 9-3, before losing, 9-6, in the MSA A Conference semifinals.
But St. Mary's is coming off an 11-10 overtime loss to Loyola on Saturday -- hardly the best of circumstances.
"It's always been a great rivalry between the two schools," said Moorhead, in his 12th season, of today's match. "Their defense seems to have really come together well. It certainly looks thatway, seeing how they beat what I consider to be an excellent Boys' Latin team."
Moorhead took special note of how the Admirals used a series of unsettled situations to overcame a 3-1 halftime deficit en route to a 7-6 victory over the Lakers.
"Possession is going to becritical. We're going to have to eliminate their unsettled, or transition, goals and try to keep it to just half of the field," said Moorhead, whose squad led, 9-6, early in the fourthquarter before fallingto Loyola.
Containing Severn's offense will be even more difficult without starting defender Todd Harrison, a junior who suffered a knee injury against Loyola. Moorhead discovered yesterday that he'll need a replacement to help veteran defenders Brad Stevens, Mike Murray and standout goalie Chris Brown.
Midfielder David Jones said his team needs something else, as well.
"We know it's a pretty balancedleague this year, so we've got to start putting four good quarters together to win games," he said.
In other words, the Saints must avoid a total collapse like the one that took place in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game, when they lost all five face-offs and a three-goal lead, while grabbing just one of seven ground balls.
Moorhead wonders which Saints team will show up today -- the one that has outscored its opponents, 81-27, or the one thatbarely defeated Mount St. Joseph, 4-3, on April 5.
"We know we have a good ballclub, and I think we've proven that we can put the ball in the net for a lot of goals," said Moorhead. "But we also showed against Mount St. Joseph that we can have a hard time scoring."
The fourth period against Loyola notwithstanding, Jones (15 goals, one assist) insists that the Saints' high-powered, all-senior attack of Ryan Kelly (14 goals, 11assists), Rob Chomo (11, six), Greg Geiger (nine, four) and Mike McClellan(eight, two) hasn't been contained all season.
The Saints had a 30-22 edge in shots on goal against Loyola -- including a 13-3 advantage in a second quarter largely controlled by Jones and junior midfielders Eamon McCormick and Kip Gendell.
"I think we acquitted ourselvespretty well today," Jones said, moments after scoring a team-high four goals against the Dons on Saturday. "Everybody's keying on Rob and looking to slide quick to him. He's been running on bad legs because of injuries, so me and the other guys on the team are starting to get open, too."
That's just another challenge for Trau and the Admirals, who were reeling after close losses to MSA A Conference foes St. Paul's and Calvert Hall following an 11-0 start.
"We're snake-bit right now," Trau said after last Tuesday's 9-8 setback to Calvert Hall.
They were elated after Saturday's upset of Boys' Latin.
"They never let down," Trau said. "They kept their confidence and kepttheir enthusiasm and finally got a close one. I think it's a tremendous lift for us, emotionallyand physically, knowing we can win the close one. And they'll all be close in the MSA A."
"It'll be a challenge, seeing if we can keep the same kind of intensity and enthusiasm and play four quarters," Trau said.
"It's going to be a tough game for both teams. We have to maintainour intensity, and they have to summon it up after losing their first game by a heart-breaker in overtime. I know how Coach Moorhead mustfeel."
Trau also knows that if Severn is to beat the Saints, it must do two things: stifle the tandem of Chomo and Jones and take "smart" shots against Brown, a Division I prospect.
"Jones and Chomo are the guys they'll be looking to for leadership and scoring punch. If we can do the job on them and shoot well against Brown, we have a good chance to win the game," Trau said. "But Brown could come upwith a superior game and be tough for us to score on, or Jones or Chomo could explode, as they've done scoring-wise in so many games. They've hurt so many teams.
"I don't mean to slight any of their other players, though. They have a good team. It's going to be a good game."
Severn's top three attackers have scored a combined 80 goals, led byjunior Jason Wade (23 assists) and sophomore Dudley Dixon (four assists) with 30 each. Senior Matt Long, who missed the start of the season with an ankle injury, has 20 goals and 19 assists in only eight games.
Senior Russell Smith, the fourth attacker, has 14 goals and three assists.
"That ain't bad. That's balance," Trau said.
Junior midfielder Milford Marchant, Severn's face-off specialist, brings 21 goals and 15 assists to the offense.