No. 2 St. Mary’s drops Boys’ Latin for MIAA A lacrosse title showdown with Calvert Hall; Lilly and Krampf combine for 5 goals (VIDEO HERE!)
by Derek Toney
St. Mary’s High boys lacrosse has been a model of consistency this season. Now, that consistency will be put to the ultimate test.
The second-ranked Saints defeated No. 3 Boys’ Latin in a MIAA A Conference semifinal in front of 1,981 at Towson University’s Unitas Stadium. Junior attack Nick Lilly scored three goals for St. Mary’s (13-5 overall), and Ian Krampf finished with two goals and two assists.
The Annapolis school overcame an early deficit, punching its ticket to the final. The second-seeded Saints will face two-time defending champ and No. 1 Calvert Hall College for title, Friday evening at 8 at Unitas Stadium.
St. Mary’s scored the final six goals in the first half to erase a 2-0 deficit. The Saints have gotten to slow starts in most of its MIAA A contests this spring.
“When we go down we don’t stop on the gas pedal, we keep our foot on it,” said Lilly. “We thrived on that.”
“Lacrosse is a game of runs,” said Krampf.
With a spot in the penultimate war for the throne in the nation’s toughest conference at stake, St. Mary’s offense won the battle on unseasonable chilly evening. Scout Ripley had two goals and an assist with Zach Dudley and Allen Hockenberry each contributing a tally and an assist.
Saints coach Victor Lilly was most impressed with his defense Tuesday.
“They gave our offense opportunities to score just enough goals to win,” said Lilly. “I know we won by a few, but at the end of the day to keep them down is how you win games.”
After BL (12-7) got within 6-4 midway in the third, St. Mary’s held the Lakers scoreless until the latter stages. The Saints answered with four tallies, sandwiching goals from Lilly and Kramp between extra-man scores from Hockenberry and Gabe Souza for an 10-4 advantage with 11 minutes, 40 seconds left in regulation.
St. Mary’s eliminated both of BL’s extra-man opportunities in the second half. Junior goalie Wes Schmidt made three of his five saves in the second half.
The Lakers gained the early momentum, getting scores from Riar Schell and senior Cam Spencer. After Spencer’s goal, Dudley won the face-off and found Krampf for St. Mary’s first score.
Dudley’s unassisted tally gave the Saints their first lead, 3-2. They forced BL into a turnover and Lilly finished a break with his second score, with just 10 seconds before halftime, extending the lead to 6-2.
Boys’ Latin sliced the deficit to 6-4 with 5:40 after scores from Spencer and longstick Kevin Davis. The Saints got the next possession, and Hockenberry scored to start a run that would secure their fourth MIAA A title berth.
“Of course, we knew they would come out in the second half with a good surge,” said Krampf, who will play for Johns Hopkins next spring. “Like Nick said, we’ve been in that situation numerous times this season. It doesn’t affect us, it just another opportunity to keep our foot on the gas pedal.”
Spencer, who will play basketball for Loyola University in the coming winter, had two goals and an assist for BL, and Cole Erickson added a goal. After being routed in their first MIAA A match of spring, the Lakers found their footing to reach their 10th straight MIAA A Final Four.
“I’m tremendously proud of these guys and what they accomplished. We’re not going to be defined by one game, it just wasn’t our night,” said BL coach Brian Farrell. “We didn’t have the fire that we had in some of those games in the middle of the season. I just feel bad for the seniors.
Farrell, whose team lost at home to St. Mary’s during the regular season, said
“They got a lot of great players. If you look at their attackmen, they’re very skilled and able to get to certain spots on the field. They do a tremendous job pushing the ball in transition. We knew it was going to battle, you got to tip your hat to a good team like that.”
After 59 games, it’s down to St. Mary’s and Calvert Hall for the MIAA A championship Friday. The Saints lost to Calvert Hall, 13-9, early last month. The Cardinals built a commanding lead before fending off a late St. Mary’s charge.
The 4-goal difference tied for the smallest margin of victory for Calvert Hall, which has won its 11 league matches this season – including Tuesday’s 18-4 decision over Loyola Blakefield in the other semifinal – by an average of nearly 10 goals. The Cardinals have won 23 straight league decisions, including postseason.
St. Mary’s, seeking its first crown since 2015, knows it’s facing a huge challenge.
“Calvert Hall is the best high school lacrosse team in the country. The postgraduate schools, we don’t ranked them. Calvert Hall is the standard,” said Lilly. “It’s going to take every possession to be perfect, groundballs got to be picked up on the first touch, you got to catch and throw, got to shoot on cage and you got clear the ball. Calvert Hall is extremely deep and talented.”
“We know Calvert Hall is a powerhouse. They went undefeated in the regular season which is a hard thing to do,” said Krampf. “We’re just going to go back to the draw board, make a few corrections from tonight and just battle it out on the field on Friday.”
MIAA A CONFERENCE LACROSSE SEMIFINAL
at Towson University
No. 2 St. Mary’s 11, No. 3 Boys’ Latin School 5
Goals: Boys’ Latin – Spencer 2, Ericsson, Schell, Davis; St. Mary’s – Lilly 3, Krampf 2, Ripley 2, Dudley, Hockenberry, Nilsen, Souza
Assists: Boys’ Latin – Pietramala, Spencer; St. Mary’s – Krampf 2, Dudley, Hockenberry, Ripley, Wicks
Saves: Boys’ Latin – Morton 8; St. Mary’s – Schmidt 5
Boys’ Latin 2 0 2 1 – 5
St. Mary’s 3 3 3 2 – 11