Yesterday brought another challenge to St. Paul's and its No. 1 lacrosse ranking, and another one-goal victory for the Crusaders.
In a replay of last year's Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference championship, St. Paul's held off a gritty St. Mary's squad for a 5-4 interdivisional win. It came three days after the Crusaders (7-0, 5-0) beat Loyola by a goal, and coach Mitch Whiteley expects another close game on Tuesday, when St. Paul's travels to Boys' Latin. The Lakers (8-0, 4-0) edged Severn in double overtime yesterday, 6-5, to remain the only other unbeaten in the A Conference.
"Our kids have been in a lot of big games, and they're used to the pressure," Whiteley said. "When you're ranked No. 1 and undefeated, everyone wants to beat you, but our kids are staying poised."
St. Paul's overcame a sterling performance by sophomore goalie Jim Brown that featured a deliberate attack by the Saints (2-3, 2-3). Brown had 21 saves and limited the Crusaders to one goal during a 21-minute span.
The winners went ahead for good at 4-3 with 4:47 remaining, when junior Michael Watson got his third goal off the second of Tim Whiteley's three assists. Watson has 21 goals and eight assists this season, and Whiteley has 15 and 14, and 181 career points.
Kevin Reichardt nearly created the game's fourth tie with 2:20 left, but the officials judged that his drive from 18 yards out didn't break the plane of the goal. The teams traded goals in the last 16 seconds, St. Paul's going up 5-3 on Ben Strutt's goal after the Crusaders thwarted a St. Mary's clear. Rob Tobin got the Saints within one with four seconds left.
"St. Mary's had a great game plan, slowing it down," coach Whiteley said. "Two years ago they came up here ranked No. 1 and we did the exact same thing. Their goalie is the reason the strategy worked. He made the saves early that allowed them to (( stay in a zone, and then he stopped everything we threw at him."
Boys' Latin 6, Severn 5
Kevin Bryan's unassisted goal 1:32 into the second overtime period lifted No. 3 Boys' Latin over No. 4 Severn (4-3, 3-2) in an MSA A Conference game. The Lakers led 5-2 with four minutes remaining, but Severn scored three unanswered goals, tying the score on Milford Marchant's goal with 1:34 left.
Mark LaVerghetta led Boys' Latin with two goals and an assist.