Several Arundel teams have eyes on state titles Broadneck, Annapolis and St. Mary's cause their foes to walk softly

Local Sports : High School Lacrosse Preview

March 21, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

A rather prosperous year could be in store for Anne Arundel County boys lacrosse if preseason expectations become reality.

Arundel was the only county boys team to win a major title last year, taking the 3A-4A state championship, while South River was the 1A-2A runner-up and St. Mary's was fourth in the Maryland Interscholastic Association A Conference.

In winning the 3A-4A, Arundel, a three-time district champion (equivalent to a state title then) during the 80s, kept Anne Arundel's string alive. The county has claimed the 3A-4A title or highest enrollment classification four straight years Broadneck (1992, 1993, both 4A), Annapolis (1994, 3A-4A) and Arundel.

Most county coaches say Broadneck has the best chance to dethrone Arundel this spring and South River, Southern and Northeast have shots at the 1A-2A state title.

Baltimore coaches fear St. Mary's and many are saying the Saints could be the "team to beat," in the MIAA A Conference. The Saints' rival, Severn School, is expected to be a possible contender. In the MIAA B Conference, Archbishop Spalding has an outside shot.

"Broadneck looks like the front-runner right now," said Arundel coach Clint Gosnell, who was not conceding the title but referring to the Bruins' experience.

The Bruins return more than 20 varsity players and North County coach Paul Shea, who has taken a team to the playoffs in 17 of his 18 years at Andover (13) and with the Knights (six) agrees with Gosnell.

"No question that Broadneck is the team," said Shea. "It's the same team that has been playing together for three years."

Even Annapolis coach Dan Hart, who convinces himself and his team every year that he has the team to beat whether he does or not, gave the edge to the Bruins.

"Broadneck may be the team to beat, but it's always the same teams every season right there," said Hart. "It shouldn't be any different this year with Broadneck, Annapolis, Arundel, North County and Severna Park the contenders once again."

That's what Broadneck coach Clay White wants to hear. The Bruins coach wasn't enamored with everybody saying his was "the team to beat," or the words of Chesapeake coach Brien McMurray: "They're loaded."

White is trying his best to play down his colleagues' targeting of the Bruins.

"You have to win it on the field," he said, "but we have as good a shot as anybody."

It must be noted that White,with three state titles (also 1987 Class A) on his belt, has been there and knows well what it takes.

South River's Greg Carroll, The Sun's Anne Arundel County Coach of the Year in 1995, won state titles in 1984 and 1986 and last year was his Seahawks' fifth appearance in a state final in ten years. Carroll has a knack of struggling through the big county 4A schools and getting his team to peak at playoff time.

"I love it," said Carroll referring to the toughness of his county schedule. "It really helps us playing the bigger schools."

Southern and Northeast, which join South River as the county's only 2A schools among eight 4A schools and 3A Broadneck, also relish the tough schedule, especially with the new open tournament. No longer do the smaller schools have to worry about their records as they try to survive the likes of Annapolis, Arundel and Broadneck.

Coach Ray Bowen, who led Southern to a 5-7 record last year, says the new playoff system "is good for us because playing the 4A schools will prepare us well for the playoffs against schools our size."

Northeast coach Carl Doneski sees it the same way and believes a team like his that won two games a year ago and didn't qualify, could be a threat after the maturation process.

With blue-chipper Kevin Doucet on his side, Doneski expects to add a third county school to the 1A-2A hunt this spring.

Like White, St. Mary's Jim Moorhead is running from "the team to beat," moniker tagged on his Saints by opposing coaches.

"Gilman is defending champion, and until somebody beats them, I don't see how anybody else can be No. 1," said Moorhead.

St. Mary's, ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll, will vie for the MIAA A title with Gilman, Boys' Latin, Loyola, St. Paul's and possibly much-improved Severn. The A Conference has adopted college lacrosse rules this season which means 12-minute quarters (public schools will continue with 10-minute periods) and 10 seconds to clear the ball.

Moorhead said using college rules should help a good stick-handling team such as his. Add a wealth of talent and experience on defense, and Moorhead may have a tough time convincing others his is not the team to chase.

Finally, after winning only one game in 1994 before coach Jay Trainor arrived, Spalding appears to have a strong returning nucleus from a team that rang up six wins in the MIAA B last year.

Trainor has the Cavaliers believing they can make the playoffs and pull off a surprise.

An Anne Arundel County sweep in 1996 is not unrealistic.

Pub Date: 3/21/96

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