Sideline Swap / Recruiting Rundown Top 25 Private School Rankings: Week 7

With May just days away, it’s a time for the nation’s best private school programs to be playing their best lacrosse as the playoffs approach. Losses suffered in March are in the rearview mirror and don’t matter much at this point – it’s better to lose early than late if you want to finish at the top.

No change takes place in the top five, but there’s shakeup all over the rest of the rankings. Culver (Ind.), Delbarton (N.J.) and Brunswick (Conn.) move up a handful of spots, while St. Paul’s (Md.) makes a jump from No. 25 to No. 13 after beating then-No. 7 Loyola Blakefield.

The most notable addition is Belmont Hill (Mass.) of the ISL, checking in at No. 20. The Hillers are undefeated at 6-0, possessing quality league wins over Roxbury Latin, Governor’s Academy and St. Sebastian’s.

Read up on the list below, which includes a detailed breakdown of the Top 10 and where they stand heading into the final month of the season.

1. Bullis (Md.), 15-2
Previously: No. 1

While there are still goals to be met, it’s been a banner year for Bullis. Last Friday, the Bulldogs crushed Georgetown Prep 14-4 for the program’s third win over the Little Hoyas in program history. On what might be the nation’s best attack unit, Nicky Petkevich (Colgate) has dropped ten hat tricks this season with 48 goals and 16 assists so far. Friday’s IAC contest against a very capable St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) squad will be pivotal.

2. McDonogh (Md.), 12-1
Previously: No. 2

The Eagles prevailed in an instant classic, knocking off MIAA rival Calvert Hall 9-8 in double OT, a game viewable here with commentary by Booker Corrigan and Bob Shriver. For the most part, they’re playing mistake-free lacrosse, executing unselfish offense, blue collar work between the lines and stout defensive play. Tuesday’s home tilt with BL is the Eagles’ only real challenge between now and the playoffs.

3. Boys’ Latin (Md.), 10-2
Previously: No. 3

It’s hard not to be impressed with the coaching prowess of first year head coach Brian Farrell, who has the Lakers clicking on both sides of the ball this month, including recent G3 / Recruiting Rundown Goalie of the Week recipient Jack Pezzulla. There really isn’t a player that’s dominant day in and day out, which BL has had every year for at least the past decade, but they’re playing with confidence and poise. Two huge road challenges loom, as they’ll play at Loyola on Friday and at McDonogh on Tuesday.

4. Gonzaga (D.C.), 14-2
Previously: No. 4

The Eagles have clinched eight consecutive wins this month, boasting a remarkable body of work. Top 100 seniors Nick McEvoy (PSU), Avery Myers (Michigan) and Ryan Finlay (Brown) are playing as well as anybody in the region, carrying the load for a senior class that recently lost Brown-bound attackman Luke McCaleb to injury. While they certainly wouldn’t admit it, it might be a cake walk to the program’s seventh straight WCAC title.

5. Calvert Hall (Md.), 11-3
Previously: No. 5

I’m still figuring out the Cardinals, a team loaded with high caliber talent but one that does some things that puzzle me. They showed flashes of brilliance on Tuesday against MIAA top dog McDonogh but need to play a complete game in order to get to where they want to be. Calvert Hall will need to come together for the rest of the regular season, facing three likely playoff teams Severn, St. Paul’s and Loyola.

6. Culver (Ind.), 11-3
Previously: No. 9

Culver’s 12-4 loss to Hill Academy makes me nervous, but then again that’s a Pride team that has a habit of making incredibly talented teams look average. Otherwise, the offense is humming and the Eagles’ only other losses are to McDonogh and Gonzaga. It’s safe to say that none of their next four games would be Top 100 wins, so the biggest tests will take place in the Inter-Ac Challenge in late May, joining as a guest this season. They might be considered the favorite to win the event.

7. Delbarton (N.J.), 9-1

Previously: No. 10

Despite the triple overtime loss to Garden State foe Summit (N.J.) in their opener, the Green Wave possess a handful of exceptional wins to date, especially a 7-5 W over LI’s St. Anthony’s on Saturday. Chuck Reubling’s squad clinched the No. 1 seed in the Morris County Tournament, which begins on May 5th and involves two other strong teams in Mountain Lakes and Chatham. College coaches should take notice of uncommitted attackmen Garrett Samuelson and Michael Rutter.

8. Brunswick (Conn.), 9-2
Previously: No. 11

Tape shows that the Bruins are hitting their stride since a tough five-goal loss to New Canaan (Conn.) on the 16th, dominating Lawrenceville (N.J.), Hotchkiss (Conn.), Haverford (Pa.) and Ridgefield (Conn.) since then. The tandem of Duke signee Reilly Walsh and Michigan-bound lefty Alex Buckanavage is as dangerous as any offensive pairing in the country. Several skilled, well-coached teams exist on ‘Wick’s schedule the next couple weeks, so staying consistent will be key if they want to reach their goal of a league title since playoffs aren’t a thing in the NE West.

9. St. Anthony’s (N.Y.), 8-1
Previously: No. 6

I’ve re-evaluated the Friars’ ranking since the weekend when I ranked them No. 24 nationally. However, SA’s next few games will say a lot about their identity. That starts with a matchup with North America’s No. 25 Syosset (N.Y.) on Thursday afternoon, followed by bouts with Yorktown (N.Y.), Chaminade (N.Y.) and Darien (Conn.) between now and May 5th. Paced by uncommitted junior Thomas Lingner in cage, they’re allowing an average of just 5.3 goals per game so far.

10. Haverford (Pa.), 12-4
Previously: No. 8

The Fords suffered a blowout loss to Brunswick (Conn.) on Saturday before reeling off a pair of wins over mediocre in-state competition. At this point, it appears as though the Fords have a lot to prove going forward with the rest of their slate. Based on what I’ve seen on film, Forry Smith and Dox Aitken have had to shoulder too much of the offensive responsibility. Their résumé is still excellent and Haverford has won a championship in five out of the last seven seasons. Getting through Malvern on Friday would be a nice confidence-boosting victory.

11. Malvern Prep (Pa.), 11-3
Previously: No. 12

12. St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.), 12-4
Previously: No. 15

13. St. Paul’s (Md.), 9-5
Previously: No. 25

14. Loyola Blakefield (Md.), 6-4
Previously: No. 7

15. Landon (Md.), 13-3
Previously: No. 13

16. St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.), 14-2
Previously: No. 15

17. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), 17-0
Previously: No. 16

18. Brother Rice (Mich.), 10-1
Previously: No. 20

19. Dallas Jesuit (Tex.), 14-2
Previously: No. 21

20. Belmont Hill (Mass.), 6-0
Previously: NR

21. Georgetown Prep (Md.), 10-4
Previously: No. 17

22. Episcopal Dallas (Tex.), 15-2
Previously: No. 19

23. Collegiate (Va.), 12-2
Previously: No. 22

24. Regis Jesuit (Colo.), 8-2
Previously: No. 24

25. Severn (Md.), 13-4
Previously: No. 18

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