Possession is nine-tenths of the law.
Especially in lacrosse.
Haverford had the ball for much of the game and that was the difference as the Fords pulled away for an 11-5 win against Darien
in the much-awaited showdown between the nation's top two ranked teams at the third-annual Checking for Cancer Classic at the Haverford School in Pennsylvania.
How did the Fords have the ball so often?
By winning faceoffs.
In fact, they controlled an astonishing 19 of the game's 20 faceoffs. In doing so, Haverford maintains firm control this week in MaxPreps Xcellent 20 National Boys' Lacrosse Rankings.
Elsewhere, many felt West Islip would lose control of its dynasty after losing Long Island's all-time leading scorer and MaxPreps National Player of the Year, Nicky Galasso, to graduation.
But the Lions are off to a roaring start, with back-to-back wins against then-No. 9 Sachem North and then-No. 6 Chaminade, firm evidence that they have re-established themselves as a national power once again, moving up to the No. 5 spot this week.
Conestoga is now in the No. 2 position, while Calvert Hall and Ward Melville round out the Top 5. MAXPREPS XCELLENT 20 NATIONAL BOYS LACROSSE RANKINGS1. Haverford School (Pa.), 11-0: Joe McCallion
was the Fords' main man on faceoffs, winning all 15 he took in the victory against Darien as the Fords overcame a 3-2 first-half deficit. (Last week's ranking: No. 1)2. Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.), 9-0:
The Pioneers have allowed more than three goals just once in their last six games, and that was a 13-5 win over Greenwich (Conn.) in the Checking for Cancer Classic. (Last week's ranking: No. 3)3. Calvert Hall (Baltimore), 10-0:
An impressive 8-5 win over Boys Latin avenged for a 15-11 loss to the Lakers last year. (Last week's ranking: No. 4)4. Ward Melville (East Setauket, N.Y.), 6-0:
Army-bound senior attack/midfielder Will Mazzone
continues a family tradition of Patriots standouts. (Last week's ranking: No. 7)5. West Islip (N.Y.), 6-0:
Senior goaltender Kyle Turri
, who will follow his brother Justin to Duke, has anchored a strong defense. (Last week's ranking: Not ranked)6. Darien (Conn.), 4-1:
First-year senior starter Dylan Torey
(Quinnipiac) is the latest Division I recruit in goal for the Blue Wave, following Chris Madalon (North Carolina), Jameson Love (Bryant) and Andrew West (Cornell). (Last week's ranking: No. 2)7. Deerfield Academy (Mass.), 4-0:
The Big Green's attack, which features Jimmy Bitter
, Sean Connors
and Ian Ardrey
, has helped account for 13 or more goals scored in three straight games. (Last week's ranking: No. 8)8. Manhasset (N.Y.), 5-0:
Following a thoroughly impressive 10-1 win over John Jay (Cross River, N.Y.), in which goaltender Frank Morelli
was among many standouts, the Indians appear to have hit their stride. (Last week's ranking: No. 10)9. Chaminade (Mineola, N.Y.), 6-1:
The Flyers struggled offensively in an 8-7 loss to West Islip, scoring two goals in the first half. (Last week's ranking: No. 6)10. Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.), 5-0:
The Red Rams picked up an 8-4 win last week against previously unbeaten Fairport (N.Y.). (Last week's ranking: No. 14)11. St. Anthony's (Melville, N.Y.), 4-1:
The Friars have one of the most athletic midfielders around in Maryland-bound senior Joe LoCascio
. (Last week's ranking: No. 11)12. St. Paul's (Brooklandville, Md.), 9-3:
The Crusaders have won four straight – quite a feat, considering their schedule has been arguably the toughest so far in the land. (Last week's ranking: No. 16) 13. Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.), 11-0:
The Raiders have won 16 of their last 17, a streak dating back to last season. (Last week's ranking: No. 13)14. Garden City (N.Y.), 6-2:
The Trojans turned in their best all-around effort of the season when they picked up a 10-0 win over one of the top programs in Massachusetts, Duxbury. (Last week's ranking: No. 19)15. McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.), 9-2:
The Eagles' losses have been against No. 1 Haverford (Pa.) and in overtime to Gilman. (Last week's ranking: No. 12)16. St. Andrew's (Boca Raton, Fla.), 14-1:
Aside from a loss to Boys Latin, the Scots have been just perfect, with their resume including a big win over Brunswick (Conn.) (Last week's ranking: No. 17)17. Summit (N.J.), 7-0:
Led by Nick Kilkowski
(four goals) and Sonny Round
(two goals, four assists), the Hilltoppers extended their winning streak to 52 games with a 10-5 win against Ridgefield (Conn.). (Last week's ranking: Not ranked)18. Brunswick (Greenwich, Conn.), 5-3:
A breakout 7-6 win over then-No. 5 Salisbury (Conn.) has the Bruins thinking big. Brunswick started the season by nearly pulling off another upset, before falling 8-7 to No. 7 Deerfield. (Last week's ranking: Not ranked)19. Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.), 11-1:
The Bruins, who have won five straight, await an April 25 showdown against No. 13 Regis Jesuit. (Last week's ranking: Not ranked)20. St. Mark's (Dallas), 16-1:
The Lions' 14-game win streak ended last week in a 7-6 overtime loss to Coppell (Texas). (Last week's ranking: No. 18)
Dropped out: Salisbury (Conn.), No. 5; Sachem North (N.Y.), No. 9; Delbarton (N.J.), No. 15; Coronado (Calif.), No. 20.Joe Lombardi writes the "Lax with Joe" blog at LaxLessons.com and is an analyst for the MSG Varsity Television Network. He is also the primary author of the new edition of "Lacrosse for Dummies," which was released last year. He may be reached at email@example.com