Severn lacrosse coach Rob White saw one of his midfielders, senior Milford Marchant, playing the part of a loner before Saturday's game against St. Mary's.
And he took that as a good sign.
"I noticed the difference in him today. He just kind of got away by himself early, thinking and reflecting, and he took this game veryseriously," White said.
Marchant's five goals and 12-6 edge in faceoffs lifted the Admirals over the Saints, 9-7, in an important Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference showdown at Weems Whalen Field.
He controlled eight of nine first-half faceoffs to help keep St. Mary's at bay, while also keeping the Admirals' playoff hopes alive.
"I didn't expect that kind of domination in the first half," said St. Mary's coach Jim Moorhead, whose team is 5-6 overall, 3-6 in the conference, and dropped further back of Division II leaders Boys' Latin and Calvert Hall. The top two finishers in each division qualify for the playoffs.
The Admirals also are struggling to stay afloat. At 9-4 overall (5-4 in the conference), they trail St. Paul's and Loyola -- the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the metro area.
"We've got an outside chance of making the playoffs and everybody's really fighting," said Marchant, who will play at the Johns Hopkins University next year.
"This is a big rivalry, and it's the most important game of our season. Our seniors really wanted it," he said. "We all wanted toput it together."
Marchant did his part, and with a heavily bandaged right thumb, which was fractured in a game against Broadneck lastweekend.
"It really didn't affect me," he said of the injury.
Instead, Marchant had a pronounced effect on the game.
His first shot struck the left post, but he later tied the game, 1-1, with 15 seconds left in the first quarter when he cut to the middle and beat St. Mary's sophomore keeper Jim Brown.
The Saints had gone ahead on senior Eamon McCormick's man-advantage goal at 3:41. The Admirals, meanwhile, were denied repeatedly by Brown, who had seven saves at halftime and 12 by game's end.
"We haven't shot well all year, and their goalie made some key saves one-on-one. He's going to be a great player," White said.
Goals from Duncan Slidell and Jason Wade put Severn ahead, 3-1, and with St. Mary's a man down, Marchant bounced a shot past Brown from 15 yards out with 3:28 left in the first half.
Marchant again scored a minute into the third quarter when a fake and a burst of speed allowed him to get around St. Mary's defender Joe Keenan and place a shot beyond Brown's reach for a 6-3 lead.
The Saints drew to within 6-4 on a Rob Tobin goal at 4:44, but Marchant answered six seconds later by winning the faceoff and going the distance.
He would thwart St. Mary's one last time at 4:26 of the fourth quarter after the Saints' J.D. Gattie had scored to reduce Severn's lead to 7-6. Wade missed three times from close range before Marchant found an open net to again put some distance between the two teams.
"He's a great talent," White said. "If he plays consistently at that level, he'll be a force to be reckoned with next year at Hopkins."
Tobin scored his second goal with 2:42 remaining, but Marchant controlled the ensuing faceoff and the Saints' Peter Rowan was called for a slash. Wade then netted his second goal to assure the win.
"I really felt that's the best effort, start to finish, that we've had,"White said.
"As seniors," said Marchant, "we focused on, 'This isthe last time we're going to play the Saints. Let's make it one to remember.' "
In girls lacrosse, St. Mary's beat Holton Arms, 17-6. Scoring for St. Mary's were Randall Goldsborough, 3; Kirsten Bowman, 3; Merri Kennedy, 2; Meghan Coakley, 2; Liz Schaffner, 2; and from Missy Holmes, Moe McDonough, Stephanie Fallon, Susan Kiefer and Krissy Zurflah, one goal each.
Coakley had three assists, Melissa Wasowski had two and Goldsborough had one.
St. Mary's goalie Anedra Wiseman had six saves, and Melissa Reynolds had three saves. Holton Arms goalie Jill Maybee had 11 saves.
St. Mary's is now 9-4.