St. Paul's defense control St. Mary's

15 saves, faceoff advantage power No. 4 Crusaders, 9-7

No. 1 Gilman tops St. Paul's

High Schools

March 26, 2000|By Jake Schaller | Jake Schaller,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

It was not the prettiest effort, but fourth-ranked St. Paul's did enough to upend No. 3 St. Mary's, 9-7, yesterday in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.

The Crusaders relied on solid defense against the Saints' offensive standouts, senior goalkeeper Paul Spellman's 15 saves and a 14-4 advantage in faceoffs.

"We knew going in that a lot of the game would revolve around one-on-one defense," Spellman said. "We have the best defense in the league and I think we showed that today."

The Crusaders (1-1) also showed why they might have the finest faceoff unit in the league. By winning 14 of 18 draws, midfielders Jack deVilliers, Scott Boyle and Ethan Haire more than made up for St. Paul's sometimes sloppy ball movement. "We play a run-and-gun game, so we tend to make a few turnovers," said senior attack Conor Ford, who led the Crusaders with two goals and three assists. "But if we keep getting the ball, we have more chances to put it in the net. Fourteen of 18 is pretty good. That will get it done any time."

St. Mary's (1-1) went up 3-1 early, but the Crusaders' Brendan Gill scored off a nifty deVilliers assist with 19 seconds left in the first period to spark a 6-0 run. The Saints went scoreless for 26: 46, during which the Crusaders built a lead they did not relinquish. Five players -- Gill, Haire, Reid Bouchelle, Grant Halford and Ben Cusson -- scored during the decisive run, but the common thread on three of the goals were precise feeds from Ford.

Although he is capable of playing a physical game, evidenced by a close-range score and a one-minute unnecessary roughness penalty, Ford's soft touch and passing skills are equally impressive.

The Saints finally ended their scoring drought and closed to 7-4 when Matt White scored with 1: 18 left in the third period. But St. Paul's, which squandered a lead in its season-opening loss to top-ranked Gilman, answered quickly with two goals to start the fourth period.

St. Mary's, which came from behind to defeat Loyola in its opener, scored three goals in the final 7: 28 to pull within 9-7, but ran out of time. "We didn't face off well, we didn't check up particularly well and we didn't play smart," Jim Moorhead said. "And when a team doesn't play smart, it's my fault. I'll take the blame."

Senior Drew Pfarr led the Saints with three goals.

"We knew starting with Loyola and St. Mary's would be a tough road," Whiteley said. "We're pretty happy to come out 1-1."

No. 1 Gilman 14, No. 2 Boys' Latin 12: Scoring goals is a necessity, but ground balls were the difference for Gilman.

In a matchup between the area's two best lacrosse programs, the visiting Greyhounds slipped past Boys' Latin.

Although Lakers senior attack Brian Nee led all scorers with seven goals and senior attack Dan LaMonica contributed a goal and four assists, Gilman improved to 2-0 in the MIAA A Conference and 3-0 overall by dominating ground balls (51-37) and faceoffs (20-10).

"It's not rocket science," said Greyhounds coach Dave Allen. "The team that controls the ball can score."

Senior attack Andrew Lucas, who will play for North Carolina next year, led Gilman with five goals -- all in the second half -- and his attackmate, Princeton-bound senior Ryan Boyle, recorded two goals and five assists.

Boyle said he thought the key was the faceoff work of senior defender Franko Gould and senior midfielder Lance Zimmerman.

"Once we started controlling the faceoffs, we didn't throw the ball away," Boyle said. "We really valued the ball, and we were much more patient on offense so that we could get better shots."

The Greyhounds scored three goals in 1: 32 to build a 14-9 lead with 6: 56 left in the game. But Nee pumped new life into Boys' Latin, scoring three straight goals and making it 14-12 with 1: 29 left.

But Gilman won the ensuing faceoff and ran down the clock.

Staff reporter Ed Lee contributed to this article.

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