It can be hoped that St. Paul's and St. Mary's won't have any trouble finding the University of Maryland Baltimore County for the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference championship game at 5 p.m. Friday.
St. Paul's hasn't been in the championship game since 1982, and St. Mary's has never been there.
Yesterday, both earned trips to the title game by pulling off minor upsets in the semifinals. Visiting St. Paul's beat two-time defending champion Loyola, 11-9, and visiting St. Mary's downed favored Boys' Latin, 6-4.
Rob Bouse, a senior attackman, scored five goals and senior midfielder Kyle Durkee had a goal and four assists to lead St. Paul's (11-4). Mike Watson and John Cougle each scored two goals and had an assist for the Crusaders.
Loyola (7-4) did a good job of slowing St. Paul's top attackman, Tim Whiteley (one goal, one assist), the conference's top scorer, but Bouse and Watson picked up the slack.
"They tried to slow it down a lot more, but we knew we could score if we could get the ball," said St. Paul's coach Mitch Whiteley.
Loyola controlled the ball for long stretches, outshooting the Crusaders, 34-19. Loyola also held a 15-9 faceoff advantage.
"Our defense and defensive midfield did a heck of a job," said coach Whiteley. "They had the ball a long time."
Cougle's unassisted goal from 10 yards out with 2:01 left in the game gave St. Paul's the lead for good at 10-9. Loyola had rallied from 8-6 and 9-7 deficits to tie the game at 9-9 on Brad Hoag's unassisted goal with 2:40 left. Durkee' goal with 40 seconds left accounted for the final score.
St. Mary's (12-3) took advantage of a four-goal third quarter outburst and some stingy defense to defeat Boys' Latin (13-3). But the Saints' defense suffered a blow when key defensemen Mike Murray and Todd Harrison were ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct following a fight with 1:46 left.
MSA rules stipulate that anyone ejected from a game for unsportsmanlike conduct by an official is suspended from the next game, which would be Friday's championship game.
St. Mary's coach Jim Moorhead said the players weren't ejected, but referee Chris Ely confirmed last night that they were.
St. Mary's led, 2-1, at the half, and third-quarter goals by Rob Chomo, Kip Gendell and Greg Geiger pushed the lead to 5-1. Boys' Latin answered with goals from Kevin Lutz (two goals) and Chris Krastel to get to within two at 5-3. Eamon McCormick (two goals, two assists) added another goal for the Saints with 2:37 left in the third quarter for a 6-3 lead.
The St. Mary's defense and goalkeeper Chris Brown were the fourth-quarter stars. Senior Brown made six of his 11 saves in that period to stop the Lakers.
In a MSA BB Conference playoff game visiting Friends edged McDonogh, 9-8, in overtime on Max Everett's goal with one second left. Friends will meet John Carroll in Friday's title game at 3 p.m. at UMBC.
In the MSA C Conference semifinals, Paul Preston had two goals and two assists and Tommy Moody also scored two goals to lead host Lake Clifton (10-2) to a 6-5 victory over Southern of Baltimore (8-5), and Dwoyne Jones had six goals and four assists to lead Forest Park (13-0) to a 14-5 win over Patterson (8-5). Forest Park and Lake Clifton will meet in the championship game at 3 p.m. Friday at UMBC.