Historically, I’ve hated the months of January and February – it’s that miserable, dreary, snow-filled waiting period between the end of football and the start of high school lacrosse that seems like it will never end. Finally, it’s over and spring is here… almost.
In a weekly feature, I’ll be giving a full rundown of notable high school games from coast to coast, pulling out a few here and there to preview and predict. I’ll be at four of these games in Maryland this week with notes coming at some point.
For any omissions, corrections, notes, etc., feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Asterisks (*) denote updates to the article.
Monday, March 9
Spotlight: Dallas Jesuit (Tex.) vs. Paul VI (Va.)
In a game played at the Landon School, Chris Surran’s Rangers will face a PVI team that has created quite a buzz in the offseason with 17 D1 commits. Going 10-10 last year but bringing high expectations into 2015, the young Panthers return 9 out of 10 starters while Dallas Jesuit brings in a stout, junior-laden defense that went to the Final Four last spring. Expect PVI senior defenseman Troy Jahelka (Navy) to face Jesuit’s jitterbug of a junior attackman in Zach Kissick (North Carolina) in a great excellent matchup. Overall, PVI has more firepower and a stud at the face-off X in UVA-bound Luke Brugel – I’m picking the “home” team to win by a handful of goals, though a win for the boys from Lone Star State wouldn’t be an absolute shock.
*Final score: Paul VI 9, Dallas Jesuit 3
Tuesday, March 10
Columbine at Cherry Creek (Colo.)
St. Albans (D.C.) at Good Counsel (Md.)
Gonzaga (D.C.) at Boys’ Latin (Md.)
Benjamin (Fla.) at St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.)
Milton (Ga.) at Lambert (Ga.)
Haverford (Pa.) at McDonogh (Md.)
Dallas Jesuit (Tex.) at Landon (Md.)
Charlotte Catholic (N.C.) at Providence Day (N.C.)
Spotlight: No. 1 Gonzaga (D.C.) at No. 8 Boys’ Latin (Md.)
Purple Eagle head coach Casey O’Neill likely won’t have to say much to his team to fire them up to play the defending national champions. After all, they were humiliated by the Lakers 17-2 last year (as well as 13-4 back in ’13) and their starting lineup isn’t much different. It’s an incredibly intriguing matchup across the board – two excellent coaches, young but experienced goalies and unlimited scoring options. However, Gonzaga should be able to flex its muscles at the midfield and expose the Lakers’ graduation losses in that department to come out victorious – I’m picking Gonzaga 9-7. On the other side, a BL win would make a big statement to anybody who wants to say that they’re rebuilding in 2015.
Spotlight: No. 2 Haverford (Pa.) at No. 7 McDonogh (Md.)
These two proud programs have had some awesome battles over the years and Tuesday shouldn’t be any different. Last year, I was on hand to cover the Eagles’ 13-8 upset win that was never really in doubt. The Fords are a year older and not incredibly different except for on the defensive end, where they may have some trouble matching up with the Eagles’ top six. I’m stating the obvious when I say that face-off and goalie play often dictate the pace and outcome of a game, though it’s extra important in this matchup. I definitely went back and forth on this prediction, though I like Haverford to turn the tide and win by one goal, putting their confidence in the right direction going forward. *Via McD head coach Andy Hilgartner, senior FOGO Jordy Elardo (Bucknell) will sit out due to injury. Nothing major and more so precautionary than anything.
Wednesday, March 11
Cathedral Catholic (Calif.) at Pacific Ridge (Calif.)
Bullis (Md.) at DeMatha (Md.)
Paul VI (Va.) at St. Paul’s (Md.)
Thursday, March 12
Highland Park (Tex.) at St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.)
Episcopal Dallas (Tex.) at San Ramon Valley (Calif.)
Spotlight: No. 13 Malvern Prep (Pa.) at Calvert Hall (Md.)
I’m looking forward to attending this game, as both programs don’t come in with as much hype as their conference counterparts and will rely on some youngsters throughout the year. The “Baby Birds” had a nice North Carolina trip over the weekend to start 2-0 against inferior competition, however they could have their hands full with the Friars’ face-off man No. 16 senior Charles Kelly (UNC), who is capable of taking over a game. So too is Hall senior scorer Timmy Kelly (no relation), ranked No. 2 in the country, who often puts his team on his back. Friars take this one, 11-8.
Friday, March 13
Cathedral Catholic (Calif.) at La Costa Canyon (Calif.)
Regis Jesuit (Colo.) vs. Arapahoe (Colo.)
St. Mary’s (Md.) at Landon (Md.)
Ponte Vedra (Fla.) at Jupiter (Fla.)
St. Paul’s (Md.) at Haverford (Pa.)
Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.) at McCallie (Tenn.)
Spotlight: Torrey Pines (Calif.) vs. St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.)
Haverford-SP might be more interesting from a rankings standpoint, but this game is phenomenal on paper for many reasons. It’s a NorCal vs. SoCal matchup being played in the shadow of the Rose Bowl between two programs that have established themselves as powers out west. Offensively, TP’s Henry Hollen (Tufts) and SI’s Finn Barry (Furman) are two of the more underrated seniors in the country, while both teams have defenses full of high level Division I prospects. This is another tough call, but I’m picking the Falcons in a tight game.
Saturday, March 14
St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) at Coronado (Calif.)
De La Salle (Calif.) vs. Torrey Pines (Calif.)
IMG Academy (Fla.) at St. Andrew’s (Fla.)
McDonogh (Md.) at Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.)
Mt. St. Joseph (Md.) vs. St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.)
Boys’ Latin (Md.) at Westminster (Ga.)
Spotlight: No. 9 Hill Academy (Ont.) at No. 21 St. Mary’s (Md.)
Games like this one make me regret the decision of making predictions. It will be awfully close, plus I have yet to watch either one of these teams. If you look at what Brodie Merrill’s Pride have offensively, then what Ben Rubeor’s Saints have in terms of experienced defensive personnel, you can say that it will be an absolute dog fight. Hill will need to find a way to gameplan against Alex Woodall (High Point), a load to handle the face-off X. If they don’t, this is the Saints’ game for the taking… I’m picking them in an upset.