2023 MIAA Lacrosse Playoff Preview
2023 MIAA Lacrosse Playoff Preview
This week of MIAA Lacrosse has been one characterized by unpredictability and intense competition. As forecasted in Tuesday’s article, the final games of the regular season were marked by utter chaos. Loyola, despite a valiant effort, lost a one-goal game to Calvert Hall, ultimately resulting in their removal from the No.2 seed position. Meanwhile, St. Mary’s emerged victorious against Severn in a thrilling overtime game, and Boy’s Latin secured a win against St. Paul’s. With these events having come to pass, the MIAA A-Conference Lacrosse Tournament is now officially underway, with the eagerly-awaited action commencing today.
No.2 Calvert Hall
No.4 St. Mary’s
No.5 Boys’ Latin
No.6 St. Paul’s
No.3 Loyola Blakefield vs No.6 St.Paul’s
Home: Loyola Blakefield
Next Game: Winner Plays No.2 Calvert Hall
Loyola has had a remarkable start to A-Conference play, winning all six of their first games. Nonetheless, the team has suffered a setback in their last four games, with only one win and three losses against Boys’ Latin, Severn, and Calvert Hall. Despite these recent losses, the Dons have shown their resilience in close games, which may prove useful in future games. Loyola has secured quality victories by demonstrating their ability to overcome adversity during pivotal moments, including a nail-biting game against McDonogh, the only team to have defeated them this season.
Loyola’s offensive prowess is one of the main factors behind their success. The team uses several players off the bench to keep the team fresh and performing at their maximum capacity. Owen Dixon, a senior attackman and North Carolina commit, is a formidable presence on the field and can disrupt even the most well-planned defensive schemes. Matt Burnam and Mason, the other two attackmen, have stepped up their game during the final stretch of the season, and their performance will be critical for the Dons. Maryland commit Peter Laake and Thomas Lala are two of the top defensemen in the MIAA and their combination is intimidating for opposing offenses. Laake is currently committed to Maryland, while Lala is committed to Colgate. Both players are expected to play a key role in tonight’s game.
The St. Paul’s Crusaders hold a record of 8-7 with mixed performance in conference play, currently standing at 6-4. However, the Crusaders have played every A-Conference opponent to a close game this season and have no bad losses on their schedule. With the right combination of factors, St. Paul’s could very well upset Loyola in the upcoming game.
Senior faceoff specialist Daniel Davis is one of the key players on the Crusaders’ roster and has been dominant all year. Another critical player is senior captain Brody Atikinson, who is an expert finisher near the net. St. Paul’s midfield lines are deep and boast two full lines of midfielders. Although Michael Smyth is expected to return from injury, he may not be at 100% yet. Davis’s dominance at the faceoff-x, coupled with limited turnovers by the offense, will be critical to the Crusaders’ success. Both teams have skilled faceoff specialists, so the outcome of this battle will be fascinating to observe.
No.4 St. Mary’s vs No.5 Boys’ Latin
Home: St. Mary’s
Next Game: Winner Plays No.1 McDonogh
The St. Mary’s lacrosse team is currently enjoying an impressive run of form, having secured five consecutive victories in the highly competitive MIAA A-Conference. Their recent triumph over Severn, with Nick Golini hitting the game-winning goal, was a testament to their resolute character and fighting spirit. Had Severn emerged victorious, the entire course of the MIAA A-Conference Tournament would have been altered, making the Saints’ victory all the more remarkable.
Despite not fielding as many players as some of their rivals in the MIAA A-Conference, the Saints possess a lineup of talented individuals who are capable of delivering outstanding performances on any given day. The starters, in particular, have been in exceptional form, thus rendering the need to dip into the bench unnecessary. Gavin Burlace, a senior midfielder committed to Notre Dame and hailing from a lacrosse-oriented family, is a prime example of the team’s impressive depth. His versatility allows him to excel in both midfield and attack positions, and his consistent scoring prowess makes him a vital asset for the team. Nick Golini, another standout player committed to Navy, is widely regarded as one of the best in his position in all of MIAA Lacrosse. Having earned captaincy this season, Burlace and Golini have become pivotal figures in the program, providing inspiration and leadership to their teammates.
Boys’ Latin has demonstrated exceptional potential throughout the season, falling short only against McDonogh, Calvert Hall, and St. Mary’s, their sole defeats in A-Conference play. It is important to note that this team’s No.5 seed does not accurately reflect their capabilities in this tournament. They possess the ability to claim victory when performing at their peak, and their offense has been particularly impressive, courtesy of their talented young players. Junior attackman Spencer Ford, an accomplished athlete with a commitment to the University of Maryland, has exhibited remarkable intelligence and off-ball skills, propelling him to the top of the team’s leaderboard. The attack unit as a whole is strong, with Air Force commit Connor Sydnor joining Ford and filling in the lefty attack position in the absence of the team’s regular starter. Additionally, the Lakers’ midfielders are deserving of recognition, frequently rotating on both offense and defense, leveraging their depth to maintain energy throughout the game.
Furthermore, Boys’ Latin’s faceoff game is also a significant strength, as they deploy two highly skilled specialists in nearly every match. Thomas Moxley, a three-year varsity veteran committed to Washington and Lee, has been pivotal in taking faceoffs, while North Carolina commit Parker Hoffman has established himself in his junior year, displaying impressive speed and offensive ability that has kept him on the field beyond the initial faceoff. This formidable combination of top-tier specialists is anticipated to play a critical role in seizing possession and controlling the tempo of the game, especially in a high-scoring contest.
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