After going 23-0 and
finishing as the No. 1 team in the MaxPreps national boys lacrosse rankings last season
, the Haverford School (Pa.) has a new look for 2012.
The Fords graduated a slew of top seniors and admittedly lack the depth and big-name talent they had last year. But in the season's first two games, Haverford looked like a team that is poised to stay in the mix for another national title and, more importantly, a fourth-straight Inter-Ac league championship.
The Fords opened their season last week by handling two MIAA foes, St. Paul's (15-6) and McDonogh (10-2). In each win, Haverford displayed great ball movement, standout defense and dominating midfield play. They begin our weekly rankings in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 at No. 2 behind Calvert Hall (Baltimore), which is 3-0.
The squad is paced by senior middies Will McNamara
(signed with Virginia) and Sam Rohr
(Penn) and face-off specialist Will Gural
(Brown). Offense also came from attackmen Henry Blynn
(senior, Brown), Gavin McBride
(junior, Princeton), and Reilly Hupfeldt
(junior) and middie Zach Rego
The Haverford defense has been a bigger story. Despite missing its top defender, senior Warner Bailey
(Georgetown, out 2-3 more weeks with a sprained MCL), the unit of Connor Bailey
(Georgetown) and fellow seniors Scott Warren
and James Chakey
along with long pole Paxton` Moore
(Michigan) have been outstanding. Junior goalie Jake Landman
missed the opener due to an injury, but was solid in Friday's win over McDonogh.
"We realize that this year's team isn't last year's team and we have to set new goals," said the versatile McNamara, who also plays some defense when needed. "One of our main goals is chemistry and we found it.
"We had to do more with ball movement and less man-to-man thus far we have accomplished that," McNamara added. "We also have been able to show lock-down defense."
The Fords will be tested again by an MIAA team on Tuesday, when they travel to No. 8 Loyola Blakefield.
Upcoming Games to Watch:
This is a great week for top games as No. 1 Calvert Hall (3-0) hosts two-time defending PIAA champion and No. 4 Conestoga (0-0) Friday at 7 p.m.
The Cardinals have looked strong in the early going, as they dumped Ontario power Hill Academy, 12-6, on Friday in their final tune-up for the showdown with the Pioneers. Conestoga, a senior-laden team, has run up an amazing record of 73-5 the past three years, including three trips to the PIAA finals.
Also Friday is a matchup between No. 2 Haverford School and No. 16 Landon (Bethesda, Md.) in the opener of the LacrossePlayground.com Spring Classic at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. The tourney continues Saturday with five more boys' and girls' games.
The complete schedule for the games at Navy:Friday, March 23
7 p.m. - No. 2 Haverford vs. No. 16 Landon, boysSaturday, March 24
Noon - Upper Arlington (Ohio) vs. No. 7 Loyola Blakefield, boys
2 p.m. - Upper St. Clair (Pa.) vs. James Madison (Vienna, Va.), girls
4 p.m. - No. 23 Gonzaga vs. Wootton (Rockville, Md.), boys
6 p.m. Germantown (Fort Washington, Pa.) vs Bullis (Potomac, Md.), boys
8 p.m. Woodrow Wilson (Washington, D.C.) vs. Baltimore Poly, boysMaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Boys Lacrosse Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
1. Calvert Hall (Baltimore), 3-0
The Cardinals, loaded with Division I talent, have looked strong and deep in three easy wins. They get their first major test Friday when they host No. 4 Conestoga. 2. Haverford School (Pa.), 2-0
The Fords have won 29 straight games, spanning three seasons. They have a tough match Tuesday at No. 7 Loyola Blakefield.3. St. Anthony's (Melville, N.Y.), 0-0
The Friars, who have won the past three the CHSAA titles and boast 13 seniors committed to Division I schools, open next Tuesday at home vs. Holy Trinity.4. Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.), 0-0
What a start for the two-time defending Pennsylvania state champions – a trip to Baltimore to meet No. 1 Calvert Hall.5. Deerfield Academy (Mass.), 0-0
The Big Green went 15-0 last year to take the NEPSAC West title. Deerfield has a sensational 75-3 record since 2007, three undefeated seasons, and at least a share of eight league championships. They open March 31 when they host Brunswick (Greenwich, Conn.).6. Salisbury School (Conn.), 0-0
The Crimson Knights, last year's New England West runners-up, will open April 6 at Berkshire School (Sheffield, Mass.).7. Loyola Blakefield (Towson, Md.), 3-0
The Dons rallied for an impressive 8-6 victory Saturday over Malvern Prep, giving them two wins over Philly's Inter-Ac league (also topped Penn Charter, 9-8 in OT). They play a third Inter-Ac team on Tuesday, when they host No. 2 Haverford.
8. Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.), 0-0
The Rams - who have the nation's longest winning streak at 44 - went a perfect 22-0 last season and won the NYSPHSAA Class B title with a thrilling overtime win against Garden City. They lost much to graduation, but return a very strong attack.9. Gilman (Baltimore), 0-0
The defending MIAA champions will again be a contender. They open at Hereford (Md.) Friday.
10. Duxbury (Mass.), 0-0
The Green Dragons are the defending Massachusetts Division I champions and have won eight of the past 10 MIAA state crowns while reaching the finals all 10 seasons.11. Chaminade (Mineola, N.Y.), 0-0
The Flyers, who host Massapequa on Wednesday in their opener, will again vie with St. Anthony's for the New York Catholic League title.12. Garden City (N.Y.), 0-0
The Trojans, who open Tuesday at home vs. Syosset, look to rebuild a defense hit hard by graduation as they hope to contend for another state title. They host Ward Melville Saturday.13. Lawrenceville School (N.J.), 0-0
The Big Red, who open Saturday at Mercersburg, will be the favorite in the Mid-Atlantic Prep league and a contender for the Inter-Ac Invitational title. 14. Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.), 4-0
The young Hoyas have been strong defensively, allowing 15 goals in their four games. They host St. Paul's on Tuesday.15. Smithtown West (N.Y.), 0-0
The Bulls, 15-4, last year, have some inexperience at defense but return 10 Division I committed players. They open Friday at Mt. Sinai.
16. Landon (Bethesda, Md.), 1-1
The Bears suffered a heartbreaking 7-6 loss to Hill Academy on Saturday and host a solid Calverton (Md.) squad Thursday before their bout with Haverford School on Friday at Navy.17. Malvern Prep (Malvern, Pa.), 0-1
The Friars fell to No. 8 Loyola Blakefield in their opener, 8-6, and play another MIAA team Tuesday when they travel to St. Mary's Annapolis.
18. Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.), 0-0
After winning the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title last year, the Panthers return a number of D-1 players and will be a favorite to repeat.19. Darien (Conn.), 0-0
The Blue Wave is a favorite for a state title after being surprised by Wilton in the CIAC semis last year.20. Boys Latin (Baltimore), 3-0
The Lakers, loaded with young talent, continued their early season success on a Florida spring break trip with an 8-6 win over Florida power Lake Highland Prep on Saturday. BL plays at undefeated St. Andrew's (Fla.) on Tuesday.21. Manhasset (N.Y.), 0-0
The Indians return a standout defense from a team that yielded just four goals a game last season.
22. West Islip (N.Y.), 0-0
The Lions went 19-1 last year and will again be a contender with a strong offense and experience in goal.23. Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), 3-0
The two-time defending WCAC champion Purple Eagles improved to 3-0 Saturday by defeating St. Albans, 6-3.24. Ward Melville (East Setauket, N.Y.), 0-0
The Patriots, 16-2 last year, find out quickly where they stand as they open Saturday at Garden City.
25. La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.), 0-0
The Explorers boast some standout juniors that will play a key role this season as they hope to return to the state finals after failing to get there for the first time in four seasons. They open Friday at Radnor.
Chris Goldberg, Editor and Owner of Lacrosse Media, operates Phillylacrosse.com, LILacrosseNews.com and BaltimoreLacrosseNews.com, as well as the new national gear site, LaxGearZone.com. He may be reached at email@example.com.