Baltimore Command boys claim Under Armour opener; girls rout Philly in their opener

by Nelson Coffin

The Baltimore Command boys got off on the right foot in the opening game of the 2018 Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Weekend on Thursday at Towson University, sprinting past Philadelphia, 9-6, in pool play behind a three-goal effort by Henry Tolker (McDonogh) and a three-point showing by fellow rising sophomore attackman Ben Smith (Boys’ Latin).

The Command Division is reserved for rising freshmen and sophomores on teams also representing defending champion Long Island, Upstate New York, Washington, D.C., New England, New Jersey, Connecticut/New York, South, Southwest, Midwest and West.

Pool play continues on Friday and Saturday with playoffs leading to the championship game on Sunday at the same site.

Trailing, 2-1, after the first quarter, the Charm City crew crept ahead to open the second period on goals by rising sophomore midfielders Jack Dudas (McDonogh) and Ryan Spillman (Boys’ Latin), the latter on a spectacular catch-and-behind-the-back finish.

Smith and Tolker completed the 4-0 run to take a 5-2 advantage while rising sophomore defenders John Rineman (Loyola Blakefield), AJ Hernandez (Boys’ Latin), Jake Moore (St. Paul’s), Aden Johnson (Hereford), Brian King (Calvert Hall) and Cameron Smith (Loyola) helped to shield rising sophomore goalies Nathan Jones (Century) and Jack Webb (Loyola).

Rising sophomore faceoff specialists Connor Dungy (Hereford) and Mackenzie Moreland (BL) more than held their own at the X against the Philadelphians.

After Philly sliced the deficit to 5-3 at halftime on a goal by Damien Ramondo (Radnor) after a nice look by fellow rising sophomore attackman Tucker Milhous (Malvern Prep), Baltimore retaliated with consecutive goals by Smith, Talker and rising sophomore attackman Jack Jozwiak (Calvert Hall) to push the advantage to 8-3.

Philly countered again on a goals by rising sophomore midfielder Geordy Holmes (Haverford School) and rising sophomore attackman Jack Clark (Springfield) that were answered by the only rising freshman in the game — and one of only eight Class of 2022 players in the tournament — attackman Truitt Sunderland (Calvert Hall) to restore a four-goal bulge for the home team.

Just how well the Baltimoreans came together after just three practice sessions to notch their first victory of the tourney pleased Smith and rising sophomore midfielder Kade Goldberg (Deerfield Academy).

“Most of us know each other pretty well, and we’re getting more used to playing with each other,” said Smith, who added that getting off to a good start means “everything.”

“We were all kind of on the same page,” added Goldberg, who pitched in with an assist in the win. “This gives us a lot of confidence.”

The Baltimore Command Girls also opened with a win over Philadelphia, although the girls were much more convincing, rolling to a 16-8 victory.

Christina Gagnon (St. Paul’s School for Girls) led the way with three goals, while Mia Rehkemper (Mount de Sales) added two goal and two assists. Anglina Pino (St. Paul’s School for Girls), Emma Rubin (Bryn Mawr), Jaclyn Marszal (Glenelg Country) and Ava Washington also scored two goals each for the Baltimore squad.

Samantha White also had a big day with three assists, while Madison Sterling added one goal and one assist. Spreading the wealth even further, Payton Rowley and Kailey Pelkey one goal each.