Baltimore City

Boys Lacrosse

March 21, 2001|By Jeff Zrebiec

All he will have to do is turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper and Gilman coach Dave Allen will constantly be reminded of his team last year, which stormed to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship with a 16-1 record. After all, six players from that team, including attackmen Ryan Boyle (Virginia), and goalie Jay Pfeifer (Syracuse) are playing at major Division I programs.

The Greyhounds lost nine of 10 starters from that team, but the cupboard was not left completely bare. Gilman returns Justin Redd (Cornell-bound), face-off man J.D. Nelson, Matt Willse (Brown), Josh Hoffman (Navy), Mike Rogers and Chris Deutschman, and senior goalie Rich Thomas.

While some of these players have not seen full-time duty because of Gilman's always deep talent pool, Allen is confident that they, and a solid defense, are more than capable of leading the Greyhounds. Along with the core, sophomore Luke Wilson, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound attackman with good speed, has shown flashes of brilliance in the preseason.

After winning three straight B Conference titles, Friends moved to A last year and struggled. Inexperienced on defense, the Quakers do boast of the Hopkins-bound duo of Benson Erwin and Kyle Harrison in the midfield. Richard Palmer, Dan Sale and Warry Siebert will also provide offensive punch.

Tony Brockmeyer played a lot of sophomores in last year's 5-11 season, and with one year under their belts, these juniors should help Mount St. Joseph remain in the mix. This is the third straight year the Gaels' starting attack will be together; however, Mount St. Joseph has question marks in goal and in the midfield.

Curley, led by a strong defense, will look to break the .500 mark. Senior attackmen Tony Vicari and Ryan Gayle, and defenders John Yeager, Nick Miller and Kelvin Yearwood will play big roles for the Friars.

David Gardiner, former coach at Maine Maritime College, is prepared to lead Cardinal Gibbons (3-12) in a two-year rebuilding process. The Crusaders, who are starting a freshman/JV program, have only one senior, but juniors Kenny Phelan and Brad Hendricks and sophomore goalie Steve Benko are established players.

In public schools, Patterson (14-1), a regional semifinalist last season, will remain the team to beat. Coach Tony Ruocco returns seven starters, including senior defender Anthony Crumpton (one of three finalists for City Player of the Year), junior goalie Gino Zarro (.748 save percentage), and junior attackmen Richard Dodd (74 points) and David Brunetti (53 points).

Edmondson (13-3) had little success against Patterson last year, but did well against everyone else. The Redskins and coach Gene White will have to overcome the loss of three of its best players, but do have seven seniors back to headline an otherwise young squad. Among them are attackmen Curtis Mitchell and Dominick Damon, midfielder Danny Hawkins, defender Sean Springs and goalie Antoine Wittington.

Poly coach Bob Wood may be coaching the boys team for the first time, but the former coach of the Lady Engineers lacrosse team knows all about Poly's rivalry with City. Wood is pleased that 40 kids came out, and that seven seniors, including nearly the entire midfield, return.

An assistant to George Petrides last year, Phil Stephenson takes the helm of City, and he is very optimistic about his team's chances. The backbone of the team will be the defense, anchored by senior Aaron Oxner, though Stephenson thinks the offense is potent.

Seniors Cedric Goliday and Kahim Carter-Bey will try to carry a young and improving Douglass squad (7-8), which is composed mostly of ninth- and 10th-graders.

Carver (7-5) lost its goalie, defensive captain and best attackman, so coach Paul Britt says that anything above .500 will be a bonus. Numbers are also a problem as the Bears -- led by seniors Delfonda Cooper and Reginald Goodman -- are struggling to field a team with 18 players.

Lloyd Carter and his Northwestern team are excited about the challenge of moving up to the A Conference, and the addition of high-scoring Boys' Latin transfer Shawn Medlin.

In the B Division, Walbrook, which lost one of the best players in the city in Floyd Pompey, will have its hands full trying to repeat last year's 11-1 season, although coach Anthony Ryan has been impressed with his team's progress.

After going 13-3 a year ago, James Monroe has had to go back to the basics with an extremely young Lake Clifton team.

Southwestern coach Steve Simmons thinks the offensive trio of Maurice Williams, Arthur Harris and Orlando Davis can compensate for a rookie defense.

With the transfer of three players and no home games on its schedule, the odds are stacked against Mervo, but junior Simon Benjamin (38 goals) and senior Marco Stewart (25) will carry some of the load.

Longtime coach Obie Barnes (31 years) is not ready to label this a rebuilding year for Forest Park, though he does have a relatively young team. Four-year starter Donald Williams is one of the best defenders in the city.

Things are looking up at Southern and Northern where both schools have more numbers than usual. The Bulldogs return a fine player in senior midfielder Rocky McClamy, while Northern's leader is versatile senior Derek Cuffie.

Players to watch

Benson Erwin (Friends, senior, midfield)

Him and midfield partner Kyle Harrison will be staying home at Johns Hopkins

Shawn Medlin (Northwestern, senior, attack)

High-scoring Boys' Latin transfer has city coaches talking Matt Willse (Gilman, senior, defense)

6-foot-3, 200-pound defender with speed emerged last year

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