With yesterday's hard-earned 6-4 victory over second-ranked Boys' Latin, No. 4 St. Mary's advanced to Friday's MSA A Conference lacrosse championship for the first time.
"Our offense got the job done when it had to, but our defense really was the difference," said Saints coach Jim Moorhead.
His Saints (12-3) will face No. 5 St. Paul's, 11-9 winner over No. 3 Loyola in yesterday's other semifinal.
After leading 2-1 at halftime, St. Mary's got four goals in the third period for a 6-4 advantage and goalie Chris Brown stymied the Lakers with six of his 11 saves in the final period.
"I've never seen anyone play better team defense than our guys did," said St. Mary's attackman Rob Chomo, who ignited the third-quarter Saints' surge with an unassisted goal off an interception in front of the Boys' Latin goal.
The Saints had two players, Mike Murray and Todd Harrison, ejected after a brief scuffle in the final two minutes. Boys' Latin also lost two players in the episode, Sam Cefalu and Kevin Bryan, but the loss will be much more costly for St. Mary's. The MSA's red-card rule will force Murray and Harrison to the sidelines with an automatic one-game suspension.
St. Mary's Eamon McCormick paced the attack with two goals and two assists and Mike Jones added one goal and one assist.
Kevin Lutz kept Boys' Latin (13-3) close with a pair of goals in the third quarter.
St. Paul's (11-4) proved its 13-11 victory over Loyola (7-4) two weeks ago was no fluke with another nail-biting decision.
Senior attackman Rob Bouse led St. Paul's attack with five goals and senior midfielder Kyle Durkee had one goal and four assists.
The Crusaders have won three in a row since dropping a 10-6 contest to St. Mary's in their only meeting this season. They have not been to the finals since 1982.
Elsewhere in boys lacrosse yesterday:
* In a BB Conference playoff, Friends (10-4) defeated McDonogh, 9-8, in overtime as Max Everett scored with one second remaining. Friends will test John Carroll (11-3) Friday at UMBC (3 p.m.).
* In the C Conference semifinals, Lake Clifton (10-2) downed Southern, 6-5, and Forest Park (13-0) topped Patterson, 14-5. The winners advance to Friday's 3 p.m. title contest on UMBC's upper field.
* In a B Conference championship Friday at UMBC, Park (8-3) will test Poly (7-4) at 1 p.m.
* In the state Class 4A/3A semifinals, North County (15-1) downed Annapolis, 7-6, and will advance to Saturday's noon championship at UMBC against No. 1-ranked Dulaney (12-0), a 9-3 winner over South Carroll.
North County got a pair of goals from Andy Mocarski and Troy Fulwiler.
Dulaney got three goals and three assists from junior Brad Berzins and Masson Ray chipped in with five assists.
* In the state Class 2A/1A semifinals, Mount Hebron (13-2) toppled unbeaten Towson, 7-4, and defending state champ North Harford (13-2) downed Loch Raven, 10-2. The winners meet Saturday at UMBC (2 p.m.).
Hebron shot high to score on Generals' goalie Lance Buckley, claiming it had spotted a flaw in Buckley's technique. Towson outshot the Vikings 25-21, but wilted in the heat after leading 3-2.
In state girls lacrosse semifinals yesterday:
* Undefeated Loch Raven downed Mount Hebron, 15-9, in a Class 2A/1A semifinal and will advance to Saturday's noon championship at Catonsville Community College against Fallston, a 19-2 winner over Pikesville.
* Severna Park advanced to its eighth straight Class 4A/3A title contest, stopping Dulaney 14-6. The Falcons will meet Anne Arundel County rival Chesapeake, which rolled over Perry Hall, 18-5, in a 2 p.m. championship, also Saturday at CCC.
Chesapeake had snapped Severna Park's 57-game winning streak this spring, earning a 17-16 overtime decision behind Diane McBee, who had six goals and one assist yesterday.
Dulaney downed Overlea, 5-1, for the Baltimore County softball championship yesterday.