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February 25, 2013

BLax: News & Notes

MarylandVarsity.com releases its first-ever Preseason Maryland Top 20 Boys' Lacrosse Rankings on Tuesday, but to help kick off the 2013 season we are turning our attention to some news and notes that did not make it into our preseason rankings.

1. Defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) champion Calvert Hall is in a strange position to start the season. The Cardinals are not the team many are predicting to win the conference this year, but boast a roster that includes 18 Division I players in the junior and senior classes, including North Carolina commit Stephen Kelly.

"We lost 21 seniors from last year' so this team is entirely different than last year's team," coach Bryan Kelly said. "The goalie competition is wide open and there are two starting positions opening up in midfield and on defense."

Depth was the biggest concern for Kelly as the Cardinals enter the season.

2. The battle of the beltways will continue this season as defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) will take on several Baltimore-area teams this season. Gonzaga was considered one of the Top 5 teams in the nation last year and will try to take another step this season with back-to-back games at Boys' Latin (March 19) and at home against Calvert Hall (March 22). Coach Casey O'Neill will also lead his team against McDonogh (April 2) and St. Mary's (March 9). Gonzaga could boast one of the tougher schedules in the nation with eight preseason ranked teams on the schedule.

3. Hereford head coach Brian King has built a powerhouse in Parkton, leading the Bulls to four-straight Class 3A/2A championships (Hereford has won five straight overall), but the public school power will attempt to become an honorary MIAA school this year. The Bulls, fresh off their 2012 win over St. Paul's, plays three MIAA schools this season: St. Paul's, Gilman and Loyola-Blakefield. All three squads are expected to fight for a playoff spot and while Hereford is expected to reach the 3A/2A finals again this year wins over any of those teams would go a long way to opening eyes to the power of the public school program.

4. Severn coach Brian Wood has a solid program and while the school is one of the smaller ones in the MIAA, the program is one that cannot be looked past on the schedule. Last year's team was led by its defense, allowing double-digits in goals in just five games (four of those were losses) last season. However, this year the Admirals have to replace the graduation of five defenders and will likely take on a different style this season.

"We return a lot of offense and will play an uptempo place," Wood said. "I think we can score goals. I'm just a little worried about how many we can stop."

5. The Calverton School is an interesting team to watch this year. The defending MILL champions went 17-2 last year and return six players committed to Division I programs. While the Cougars' schedule does not rival that of Gonzaga or the MIAA, there are enough games on the schedule that could move them up the rankings this season. Hill Academy (Canada) is a team that plays a tough schedule and includes St. Paul's, Gonzaga, Calvert Hall, Landon Boys' Latin and Bullis (and that's just the Maryland portion of their schedule) and that foe is a good measuring stick. Should Calverton win that game MarylandVarsity.com will have a good idea of where the Cougars fit in Maryland once Hill Academy finishes out its Maryland run. Calverton also plays St. Mary's in addition to out of state powers; Haverford School (Haverford, Pa.), Culver Academy (Culver, Ind.) and Coronado (Calif.).


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