Every time seventh-ranked Loyola Blakefield crept within two goals of No. 2 Boys’ Latin School on Friday afternoon at J. Duncan Smith Field in north Baltimore, the Lakers found an answer.
It happened once in the second and fourth quarters and twice in the third quarter of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference battle and was a major factor in BL’s 12-7 win that sets up a showdown against the conference’s other unbeaten team, No. 1 Calvert Hall College, on Tuesday.
After Boys’ Latin grabbed a 5-0 lead early in the second quarter on two goals by senior attackman Luke Shilling and one each by senior midfielder Koby Russell, freshman attackman Brendan Grimes and senior face-off specialist Jake Glatz, the Dons countered with a 3-0 run powered by senior attackmen Phil Wies and Patrick Norris and junior attackman Ryan Dunn to cut the deficit to 5-3 with two minutes remaining in the first half.
The Lakers (12-3 overall, 6-0 MIAA A) then regained some momentum when senior midfielder Greg Ey converted a Shilling feed a minute later to make it 6-3 at the intermission.
Wies’ extra-man tally made it a two-goal game early in the third period before Ey navigated his way through the Dons’ longsticks to beat senior goalie Jake Stout from close range for a 7-4 BL lead.
Loyola (7-6, 4-2 MIAA A), though, stormed back on junior midfielder Liam Bateman’s extra-man goal to get the Dons back within a deuce midway through the quarter.
That’s when BL’s Michael Ubriaco scooped a ground ball after a Loyola turnover near the Laker goal and headed downfield in a hurry.
About 12 yards from the Loyola goal, the junior longstick midfielder wound up and fired a blistering shot past Stout to restore a three-goal margin that bloomed to 9-5 after Grimes powered a lefty shot into the net with less than a minute left in the period.
“I’m thinking when I’m running down the field that I’m trying to make the right play,” the Johns Hopkins commit said. “Coach (Brian Farrell) has given me the green light to shoot if I have the space — the time and room — I’ll take the shot or pass to the point man.”
His coach, who scored a slew of goals while playing the same position for the Lakers and the Maryland Terps, knows the value of getting instant offense from a defender.
“We trust our guys with the ball in their stick,” Farrell said. “We have confidence that they’ll make the right play.”
The Dons refused to yield, however, and used back-to-back goals by junior midfielder Alex Reid to pressure the Lakers, who responded with goals by Shilling and junior attackman Matt Brandau to restore a four-goal cushion with four minutes to go in regulation.
Grimes’ empty-netter with two minutes, 34 seconds left cemented the victory, although major props have to go to Glatz for another strong performance at the X. The Penn State recruit corralled 16-of-22 face-offs to give the Lakers more than enough possessions to come out on top and keep their bid to earn the top playoff seed alive.
“That’s what we expect from a senior captain,” Farrell said. “He’s working hard and making a big impact for us.”
Ubriaco said that although the game at Calvert Hall is big, he and his teammates will not try to over-think its significance.
“They’re a good team and we’re a good team,” he said. “From the first whistle, we’ll just go and see what happens. We’d like to get the top seed, but if that doesn’t happen we’ll just play one game at a time and wish for the best.”
NO. 2 BOYS’ LATIN SCHOOL 12, NO. 7 LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD 7
LB 0 3 2 2 — 7
BL 4 2 3 3 — 12
GOALS: LB- Phil Wies 2, Alex Reid 2, Liam Bateman, Patrick Norris, Ryan Dunn; BL- Matt Brandau, Koby Russell, Jake Glatz, Michael Ubriaco, Brendan Grimes 3, Luke Shilling 3, Greg Ey 2.
ASSISTS: LB- Gavin Dambeck, Ryan Dunn, Alex Reid; BL- Luke Shilling, Matt Brandau 2.
SAVES: LB- Jake Stoutt 10; BL- Chris Brandau 9.