BROOKLANDVILLE — A shooting match was the last thing the Severn boys lacrosse team wanted to get into yesterday against top-ranked St. Paul's.
But that's exactly what the visiting Admirals found themselves in.
So, they bowed to the defending Maryland Scholastic Association AConference champions, 17-14, in an inter-divisional contest that locked up a playoff berth for the victors and all but doused Severn's flicker of postseason hope.
The loss dropped the Admirals' conference record to 5-5 and put their postseason fate in the hands of a Loyola squad that owned a two-game lead over them heading into yesterday'saction.
"We didn't want to play that kind of (transition) game with them. There's no way," said veteran Severn coach Rob White, wishing to take the blunt of the blame for his team's misfortune.
"We had a lot of breakdowns on defense, but maybe I put too much pressure on the kids.
"We kind of changed our defensive scheme and style a bit to respect their attack, and they still had a lot of transition situations and ended up with some pretty good shots."
Severn senior midfielder Milford Marchant, who scored five goals in the Admirals' 9-7 win Saturday over archrival St. Mary's, added five more goals and an assist against the Crusaders.
The Admirals fell behind 2-0 early, before senior Jason Moran scored on a feed from Duncan Slidell.
St. Paul's went ahead 3-1 at the 4:17 mark of the first quarter before Marchant and Rob Broseker answered with unassisted goals for a 3-3tie.
The teams exchanged goals throughout most of the second quarter, with the Admirals getting scores from Marchant and Jason Wade (three goals, two assists).
However, St Paul's erupted for four unanswered goals in the waning 90 seconds of the second quarter to take a9-5 lead at the half.
Doing the bulk of the scoring during the outburst was junior attackman Michael Watson, who finished the game with six goals and one assist.
"Once we were down by four we had to come after it," said White, whose Admirals dropped a 7-6 decision to the Crusaders in their first meeting on March 27. "Once we got down like that, it changed the whole complexion of the game."
In the second half, the Crusaders took over where they left off, showering Severn goalie Court Durling with four more unanswered goals to take a 13-5lead with 5:32 left in the third quarter. Durling, whose neck probably is aching from watching some 30-plus shots soar by, finished with 15 saves.
Severn managed to pull back to within six, on goals fromTodd Muendel and T.D. Albright, but trailed, 14-8, heading into the final quarter.
The unrelenting Admirals hustled their way back to within four with just more than five minutes left, but Watson answered for a St. Paul's team that had time and the score board on its side.
"These kids showed a lot of class and character and never died,"said White.
"There were a lot of opportunities where we could have quit but they hung in there and I was proud of them."