High School Boys

March 24, 2015

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Preseason No. 1 Gonzaga (D.C.) stumbled with an early loss, but remain in the Top 10 for the Mid-Atlantic in its first in-season update. (John Strohsacker)
Preseason No. 1 Gonzaga (D.C.) stumbled with an early loss, but remain in the Top 10 for the Mid-Atlantic in its first in-season update. (John Strohsacker)

Nike/LM HS Mid-Atlantic Report: Home Sweet Home?

by Mike Loveday | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Nike/LM National Top 25: Boys | Girls
Region Reports: South | Mid-Atlantic | Midwest | West | Northeast

The Gonzaga (D.C.) boys' lacrosse team started the year at No. 1, but if the Purple Eagles win the national championship they're not going to do it at home.

The Eagles only have five 'home' games scheduled this season, but none of those will be at their Washington, D.C., field. Instead, three of those games will be played at Georgetown University and two will be at Catholic University. Gonzaga's normal home field has been under construction since last year's graduation and will not be ready until July.

"Our motto this year is 'Any Field,'" head coach Casey O'Neil said. "We've gone to practice at the grass field up the street. We went to two middle schools. We've helped shovel snow at scrimmages to find a field. We'll go anywhere. It's crazy."

Gonzaga is loaded with a mix of senior and underclass talent that can help the Eagles overcome any hardships from traveling to every game this season. Junior goalie George Christopher made 12 saves in a 13-6 win over Boys' Latin and helps anchor a defensive unit that returns every player from last year's team.

Nike/LM Mid-Atlantic Boys' Top 10

1. Haverford School (Pa.), 2-0
2. Landon (Md.), 5-0
3. McDonogh (Md.), 3-1
4. Gonzaga (D.C.), 5-1
5. Delbarton (N.J.), 0-0
6. Boys' Latin (Md.), 4-1
7. St. Paul's (Md.), 3-1
8. Bergen Catholic (N.J.), 0-0
9. Episcopal Academy (Pa.), 1-0
10. Georgetown Prep (Md.), 3-0

Who's Hot?

Landon (Md.) is off to a 5-0 start and posted a win over Paul VI, 13-7. The Bears also defeated Dallas Jesuit (Texas) 13-4 in their season opener and have yet to allow more than six goals in any game this year. .. One game might be too few to say a team is hot, but Episcopal Academy (Pa.) leaps into the top 10 after defeating Culver Academy (Ind.) 8-7 in its first game of the year. Curtis Zappala and Eric Habb each scored four goals in the win, and goalie Colin Reder made nine saves.

Who's Not?

Malvern Prep (Pa.) drops out of the top 10 this week after losing its first three games of the year. The Friars lost a heartbreaker, 11-10 in overtime, to Calvert Hall (Md.) to open the season, then lost 14-11 to St. Mary's (Md.) and finished the week with an 11-10 loss to Gilman (Md.).

Six seniors already are committed to Division I programs, including attackman Timmy Monahan (Maryland), defenseman Michael Borda (Michigan) and attacker Richie Petitbon, who has signed his letter of intent to play football for Alabama.

O'Neil's depth also should be an advantage this season, with eight players in the midfield committed to Division I programs giving him two full midfield lines to run in games without seeing a drop-off.

With several top 5 finishes under their belt and five straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championships, there is little argument Gonzaga was one of the few teams that could have earned the No. 1 ranking in the preseason.

"At first I told the kids, 'It's an honor, but this is the last time we're going to discuss a preseason ranking. It's not an option,'" O'Neil said. "'Now it's time to prepare and work."

"We will do everything we can each and every day to prove we are worth the rankings," he added.

If the Eagles go on to claim a national championship, they are going to earn it. They already defeated last year's No. 1 team in Boys' Latin and play (on the road) against Culver Academy (Ind.), Landon (Md.), Bullis (Md.), Paul VI (Va.), Fordham Prep (N.Y.), Georgetown Prep (Md.) and DeMatha (Md.).

Player of the Week

Curtis Zappala, Episcopal Academy (Pa.)

The season just started in the Mid-Atlantic, but Episcopal Academy's 8-7 win over national No. 3 Culver Academy (Ind.) might go down as the game of the year, and Zappala is a big reason for that. Zappala scored four goals and had two assists in the victory. The senior helped spark a third quarter in which the Churchmen scored four goals. The win ended Culver Academy's 34-game winning streak.

Also notable: Logan Wisnauskas (Boys' Latin, Md.), Jimmy Williams (Gilman, Md.), Avery Myers (Gonzaga, D.C.), Phil Poquie (Haverford, Pa.)

Games to Watch

Culver Academy (Ind.) vs. Gonzaga (D.C.), March 24

This is the start of a big week for Culver Academy, starting with Gonzaga on Tuesday in a game that has national No. 1 implications. The Eagles dropped a surprising game to Episcopal Academy, but followed up with a 13-2 win over Penn Charter (Pa.). Gonzaga already has defeated Boys' Latin and Hill Academy (Canada), but dropped its first game of the year, a 13-11 decision to McDonogh (Md.) on Sunday.

Haverford School (Pa.) at Gilman (Md.), March 27

Haverford is already 2-0 against the MIAA this season with wins over McDonogh (Md.) and St. Paul's (Md.), and now the Fords return to play the best of the league with games against Loyola-Blakefield (Md.) and at Gilman (Md.). This is just Gilman's third game of the year, and the Greyhounds have launched themselves against some of the best teams in the nation early on. They defeated Malvern Prep (Pa.), 11-10, and play Georgetown Prep (D.C.) on Tuesday before their meeting with Haverford School.

Nike/LM Mid-Atlantic Girls' Top 10

Player of the Week

Kelli Burns, Briar Woods (Va.)

The senior had back-to-back eight-goal games to open her final season. Burns had eight goals and three assists in a 22-6 win over Heritage (Va.) and followed it up with eight goals and one assist in a 17-1 win over Osbourn (Va.).

Also notable: Kelly Larkin (Bishop Ireton, Va.), Julia Hoffman (McDonogh, Md.), Amanda Ignacio (Mount de Sales, Md.)

1. McDonogh (Md.), 3-0
2. Moorestown (N.J.), 0-0
3. Bishop Ireton (Va.), 3-0
4. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.), 4-0
5. Good Counsel (Md.), 4-0
6. Roland Park (Md.), 3-1
7. Marriotts Ridge (Md.), 0-0
8. Georgetown Visitation (D.C.), 2-2
9. Garnet Valley (Pa.), 0-0
10. Summit (N.J.), 0-0

Who's Hot?

Roland Park (Md.) opened the season with a 16-10 win over Archbishop Spalding (Md.) and continued with a 16-9 victory over St. Mary's (Md.) and an 18-11 win over Georgetown Visitation on Sunday. ... Bishop Ireton (Va.) opened the year with an 11-9 win over Georgetown Visitation (D.C.) and followed it up with a 9-8 win over Hill Academy (Canada) before defeating Roland Park, 13-11.

Who's Not?

Notre Dame Prep (Md.) dropped its first two games of the year -- a 17-11 decision to Severn School (Md.) followed by a 12-8 loss to Bryn Mawr (Md.).

Games to Watch

Roland Park (Md.) has started hot, but faces a huge test on Thursday in a rematch of the IAAM finals against national No. 1 McDonogh (Md.) (John Strohsacker)

McDonogh (Md.) at Roland Park (Md.), March 26

The first meeting of these teams in 2015 is a rematch of last year's IAAM championship game. McDonogh came out on top 16-13 in that game, but Roland Park led by three goals with less than 10 minutes remaining. Both teams are loaded with talent. The Reds return standouts such as senior midfielder Francesca Whitehurst and senior attacker Jenna Hanes, while the Eagles return Kelsey Cummings and Caroline Lewis at attack and Elizabeth George and Oliva Jenner at midfield.

QUICK SLANTS

Mid-Atlantic Boys' Notebook

Gonzaga wasted little time making a statement that it deserved serious consideration for the top spot in the nation. Gonzaga defeated reigning national champion Boys' Latin (Md.) 13-6 on the road. The win ended the Lakers' 18-game winning streak and helped the Purple Eagles to their ninth-straight win. Timmy Monahan and Luke McCaleb led the team with three goals each and goalie George Christopher made 12 saves. The Eagles were up 7-2 at halftime

***

Christopher has been a big reason Gonzaga has started 4-0. In addition to his big game against Boys' Latin, he made seven saves against Hill Academy (Canada), and through five games the junior has 41 saves.

***

Inter-Ac favorite Haverford School (Pa.) and MIAA top contender McDonogh (Md.) put themselves right to the test, facing off in their respective opening games of the year. Haverford came out on top, 9-8 in overtime, after Phil Poquie scored early in overtime to give the Fords the victory. Dox Aitken scored three goals and had two assists in the win.

Mid-Atlantic Girls' Notebook

The Good Counsel (Md.) girls opened their season with a 22-1 win over Elizabeth Seton, while conference rival Bishop Ireton (Va.) opened with an 11-9 win over Georgetown Visitation. The teams appear to be atop the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and once again look to be headed toward a conference final meeting.

Bishop Ireton goalie Amelia Cole made nine saves in the victory while Kelly Larkin scored three goals and had two assists.

***

The McDonogh (Md.) girls continued the longest active winning streak in the nation with a season-opening 15-2 win over Walton (Ga.) on March 20 and followed that up with an 18-5 win over Milton (Ga.) on March 21. The Eagles finished up the week with a sweep of Georgia teams, defeating Chattahoochee 23-5. McDonogh won 115 straight games and six straight IAAM championships. Kelsey Cummings scored three goals in the victory over Walton.

***

Led by three goals each from Morgan Rubin and Hadley Brown, Bryn Mawr (Md.) downed Notre Dame Prep (Md.) 12-8.

Mid-Atlantic Region Report Archive

Feb 25: Preseason Top 10 and Players to Watch


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