Lakers' attack packs punch

Boys' Latin's potent foursome causes all kinds of problems for opposing defenses in the MIAA A Conference.


When it comes to the attack of the Boys' Latin lacrosse team, Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rivals know it's a matter of choosing their poison.

Should defensive schemes focus on two-time All-Metro player Chris Boland, who has 84 goals and 92 assists in the past two seasons, they leave themselves vulnerable to three others - all left-handers.

One is returning starter Brett Weiss, who had 37 goals and 33 assists last year and will be Boland's front-line mate for the fourth consecutive season.

Another is a transfer from defending champion McDonogh, junior Travis Reed, whose finishing touch led to his scoring 117 goals - to go with 53 assists - over the past two years.

The third is senior David Shriver (son of coach Bob Shriver), who looks ready to make big contributions after three years as a role player.

"We have four experienced guys, but maybe the most unique thing about them is that three of them - Travis, Brett and David - are all natural lefties," said Bob Shriver, who last had such a potent lineup in 1997, when his Lakers went 17-0 for the MIAA A Conference title.

"Chris is in his fourth year after playing a little bit of midfield as a freshman - the same year that Brett also got called up from the JV to the varsity. So those two have been playing together for the better part of two years," Shriver said. "With Travis in the mix, you're talking about a kid who started for McDonogh and was their leading scorer for both years. David played a fair amount last year, but mostly on man-up situations. And he's had a good summer of play, so his game has improved, making it easier to get him on the field a little bit more."

In a league considered the nation's best for high school lacrosse, the Lakers' quadruple-threat ranks as one the most dangerous in the country.

No one knows that more than teammate Brian Farrell, a University of Maryland-bound defender. As a key returning starter who is flanked by two new players, it is Carroll's job to shore up a defense anchored by junior goalie Jacob Hagelin, an occasional starter last year.

What better way to prepare for the season than to practice against his teammates?

"Our attack is phenomenal. It's definitely hard to practice against those guys, but they're also the best tests you can get for all of the firepower they bring to the table," Farrell said. "They're all Division I-caliber players. It's got to be one of the best in the nation. It's definitely the best I've ever seen assembled."

At the focal point is the Johns Hopkins-bound Boland, who is capable of dominating a game single-handedly.

That was the case during the Lakers' 13-10 victory over St. Paul's on April 29 at M&T Bank Stadium, when Boland scored six goals and assisted on four.

But as good as he can be on his own, Boland is just as happy distributing the glory to his teammates, as his 43 goals and 56 assists last year indicate.

"It's definitely a relief to be able to look up and be able to throw it to one of the other three guys, and to know that any one of them can go to the goal and put it in the back of the net," said Boland, who won't hesitate to take the ball behind the goal to set up a play. "I'm going to look for opportunities to get them the ball, and I'm sure they're going to do the same thing. I'd be more than happy to just sit back and watch someone else dodge, or vice versa. I know if we play with the chemistry we've had so far, we can score at any time."

Farrell and Boland are motivated by past failures, including those as members of the Lakers' football and basketball teams.

In football last fall, Farrell earned All-Metro honors as a tight end and Boland was a second-team All-County choice as a defensive back. But their joy was tempered by a loss to Archbishop Spalding in the B Conference title game.

This past winter, they were members of a Lakers basketball team that was ousted in the semifinals by Mount Carmel. The start of the spring lacrosse season brings to mind last year's 9-8 title-game loss to McDonogh, a game in which the Lakers fell behind 6-1.

"Most of the guys who play lacrosse have been on my football and basketball teams, and we all feel the same way. I definitely want to know what that [winning a title] feels like," said Boland, whose lacrosse teams were semifinalists during his freshman and sophomore seasons, and whose older brother, Kevin, was a member of Gilman's MIAA A Conference champion in 2000. "I wouldn't care if I, as a player, had the worst season. As long as we won a championship, everything would be fine. I'm just hoping to get there."

For David Shriver, the season represents not only an opportunity to make a more significant contribution to the team, but also, a chance to be a part of a possible championship run under his father.

"Fun is the best word to describe it. Being included with these other guys is just awesome," David Shriver said. "Last year would have been great if we would have won a title. But this [is] my senior year, and the last time I'll be around my dad and seeing him every day for a whole year. So whatever happens, it's really going to be a very special season."

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