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MIAA Lacrosse Game of the Week – Boys’ Latin vs Loyola Blakefield- 4/25/2023

Midseason MIAA lacrosse is a thrilling and highly competitive event that brings together some of the finest talent in the sport. In this article, we present a summary of an insightful and thought-provoking conversation between two of the most renowned lacrosse experts in Maryland: Don Zimmerman and Bob Shriver. Shriver, who retired from coaching in 2015 after a storied 36-year career at Boys’ Latin, boasts an impressive record of 507 wins and only 140 defeats. Zimmerman, a National Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee in 2017, served as the head coach for the UMBC Retrievers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for 24 years. With their combined expertise and experience, there are few minds better suited to offer valuable insights and analysis on everything MIAA lacrosse.

How the MIAA Differs From Other High School Leagues

MIAA lacrosse has undergone significant changes over the past five decades. For the past ten years, the conference has consisted of 11 teams, each playing 10 league games on Tuesdays and Fridays, with a bye week interspersed throughout the season. One of the distinctive features of the A-Conference is its use of NCAA rules, unlike most high school teams in the country that utilize federation rules. By playing under these regulations, high school players in the MIAA are better equipped for the college environment. However, when MIAA teams face out-of-conference opponents who use federation rules, the situation becomes more complicated. While some visiting teams are allowed to play with the NCAA ruleset, most are not, necessitating MIAA schools to accommodate them. Therefore, irrespective of the home team, if an MIAA team faces an out-of-conference opponent that employs federation rules, the MIAA team must adjust to the federation ruleset. While this issue does not affect this week’s MIAA Game of the Week matchup, it is an intriguing point worth addressing.

MIAA Lacrosse Game of the Week (April 25, 2023)

Game: Boys’ Latin vs Loyola Blakefield

Time: 4:15pm EST

Stream: HERE

In contemporary lacrosse, few programs have been as prolific in championship game appearances as Loyola and Boys’ Latin. The historical significance of their matchup is undeniable, as both teams possess a storied tradition and culture, which have produced an abundance of accomplished players that have transitioned to the next level.

Loyola Blakefield

Loyola has been nothing short of impressive this season, boasting a flawless record of 6-0 in A-Conference play and sitting atop the conference standings. The Dons have amassed quality victories, particularly in A-Conference play, where they have demonstrated their ability to overcome adversity in pivotal moments. Notably, Loyola managed to secure a victory over McDonogh, the only team to have defeated them this season, in a nail-biting game that saw McDonogh almost stage a comeback from a nine-goal deficit. Nevertheless, Loyola’s resiliency and composure allowed them to prevail. In another game against St. Paul’s, Loyola trailed by two goals entering the final quarter, but a remarkable five-goal run helped them clinch the win. This level of mental toughness is a rare attribute among most high school programs and should serve them well in crucial games.

Loyola’s success can be attributed in no small part to their high-powered offense that deploys several players off the bench to keep the team fresh and running at maximum capacity. Senior attackman and North Carolina commit Owen Dixon is a formidable presence on the field, capable of disrupting even the most carefully laid-out defensive schemes. However, the Dons’ faceoff game relies primarily on Bellarmine commit Niko Madden, which, while not necessarily detrimental to their performance, could prove to be a potential weakness in this upcoming matchup.

On the defensive end, Maryland commit Peter Laake has been making waves for his impressive performances over the past few years. Unfortunately, Laake suffered a cardiac injury on the field in April 2021, an instance of commotio cordis, where a projectile strikes the chest and disrupts a healthy heart’s electrical system. Despite the severity of the injury, Laake has made a remarkable recovery and is considered one of the best defensemen in the country, helping to anchor the Loyola defensive unit.

Boys’ Latin

Boys’ Latin has established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the A-Conference, boasting a 4-1 record with their sole defeat coming against McDonogh in a closely contested one-goal battle. While the Lakers suffered a couple of preseason losses, they bounced back with a convincing 9-6 win over Lawrenceville, one of the top teams in the nation. Despite their one conference loss, Boys’ Latin’s squad is loaded with talent across the field, making them a formidable opponent.

Their offense, in particular, has been a standout this season, thanks to their young and gifted players. Junior attackman Spencer Ford, a standout player committed to the University of Maryland, has had a stellar season, displaying impressive IQ and off-ball skills that have propelled him to the top of the team’s leaderboard. The attack unit, as a whole, is strong, with Air Force commit Connor Sydnor playing alongside Ford, filling in the lefty attack position due to the injury of the team’s usual starter. The Lakers’ midfielders are also noteworthy, as they frequently rotate on both offense and defense, utilizing their depth to maintain freshness throughout the game.

Boys’ Latin’s faceoff game is also a strength, with the team deploying two elite faceoff specialists in almost every match. Thomas Moxley, committed to Washington and Lee, has been taking faceoffs on the varsity squad for over three years, while North Carolina commit Parker Hoffman has been making waves in his junior year, demonstrating remarkable speed and offensive prowess that has kept him on the field even after the initial faceoff. This combination of top-tier specialists is expected to play a vital role in securing possession and controlling the pace of the game, particularly in a high-scoring affair.