Local allegiances, rivalries and friendships were thrown into a blender for the boys lacrosse Public/Private Challenge as Severna Park and Broadneck both played matches against prep counterparts Severn and Spalding over spring break.
Broadneck came out on top of it all.
The Bruins came from behind to defeat the Admirals at Severna Park High School on April 18, rallying late in the second half to come away with a 10-9 victory, and they completed a 2-0 sweep of the tournament on April 20 with a 9-7 victory over Archbishop Spalding at Severn.
Severna Park suffered its first loss of the season by falling 13-6 at home to Archbishop Spalding on April 18 but salvaged the second leg of the Challenge by defeating Severn 9-8 in double overtime on April 20.
The Cavaliers scored some important neighborhood bragging rights by avenging last season’s loss to the Falcons, while Severn suffered the sting of two one-goal losses.
It was Broadneck that stole the spotlight.
Coming off a defeat to Severna Park on April 12 in which the Bruins lost to the visiting Falcons 16-7 — Jimmy Maher scored seven goals and had three assists for Severna Park in the Falcons’ win over Broadneck — the Bruins trailed Severn for most of the game and nearly the entire second half in the Challenge’s opener at Severna Park on April 18 and looked to be headed for another loss. But a late flurry of goals combined with effective defense and faceoff supremacy powered Broadneck to swipe the win from the Admirals. With the Bruins down 9-8 with three minutes to play following a goal by Severn’s AJ McNemar, Broadneck’s Vinny Facciponti won a faceoff, took the ball down and scored to tie the game at 9-9. Facciponti won the ensuing face-off, and the Bruins worked a lengthy possession before Keegan Houser scored the game-winner with 57 seconds remaining.
Facciponti and Brendan Kennedy each scored three goals for the Bruins, while Houser had two and Bubba Bowen and Dan Shea both had goals. Ben McGrady made five saves for the Bruins, while Facciponti won 17 of 23 face-offs.
Jon Jarosz had three goals for Severn in the loss, while Zack Kinsella and Henry Rentz had two goals each and Collin Earvin added a score. Loukas Sotiropoulous-Lawrence made 12 saves, but Severn couldn’t close out the win in the face of an unrelenting Broadneck mentality to keep pushing.
“A lot of our team was on the team last year, when we were down at halftime in almost every game, and we’d always fight back and win,” said Facciponti. “We’ve just got to keep that same mentality, and we knew that if we all believe it, we can definitely do it.”
Spalding was walking onto the field to take on Severna Park as the Bruins were high-fiving following their win over Severn, and the Bruins and Cavs exchanged some spirited chirping in anticipation of their Saturday tilt.
That one ended up going Broadneck’s way, too. Houser scored four goals; Facciponti scored a goal and won 15 faceoffs; McGrady made eight saves; Kennedy had three assists; and Bowen, Casey Demanski, Hayden Gourley and Parker Griffey added goals in a 9-7 Broadneck victory over the Cavs in which Broadneck never trailed.
Houser said after beating Severn that the Bruins showed resolve to produce a quality win following a disappointing loss at home to Severna Park.
“We try to stay humble, but we took a bad loss [to Severna Park] last week, so we’re trying to build our confidence back up and get back in the swing of things,” said Houser.
Archbishop Spalding may have been the victim of Broadneck’s rising confidence on April 20, but the Cavs authored a memorable victory in their win over Severna Park on April 18. The Falcons jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Spalding on goals by Connor Panebianco and Cam Bear and looked to be on course to another impressive win and a continuation of their hitherto undefeated season. The Falcons likewise won the rivalry matchup with Spalding in 2018 and 2017, and their public-over-private grip seemed initially to be tightening.
But from there, the only thing that tightened was Spalding’s defense. Cavaliers goalie Jake Oliver made a pair of saves on Severna Park’s next few possessions, and senior defenseman Ryan McDaniel led a Spalding defense that went on to shut out the Falcons over the rest of the first quarter, all of the second and most of the third. Russell Melendez assisted on goals to Hudson Stramanak and Michael Weisshaar before scoring a goal of his own to put Spalding up 3-2 after one quarter.
From there, Spalding was off to the races. Will Sherwood and Ryan Schrier both scored in the second period, and Stephen Ripley capped the first half with a sensational over-the-shoulder goal for a 6-2 Spalding lead at halftime. Spalding extended its lead to 9-2 in the third quarter behind goals by Weisshaar, Sherwood, Schrier and Josh Tang before Bear ended the Severna Park drought shortly before the end of the third quarter to make it 10-3.
The Falcons pulled to within 10-4, but the Cavs didn’t relinquish the momentum, and McDaniel, a Severna Park resident, punctuated the night with his first goal of the season. A defenseman, McDaniel corralled a ground ball near midfield and barreled down toward the goal before firing a shot directly at the facemask of Severna Park goalie Casey Fox. The ball bounced of Fox’s helmet and directly back to McDaniel, who punched in his own rebound for an 11-4 lead.
Schrier completed his hat trick late to cap the Cavs’ 13-6 win; Oliver made 12 saves in the victory.
“We went down 2-0 pretty quick, so give credit to our guys for kind of staying with it and battling back, chipping away and staying with the ‘Next play, next play, next play’ mentality,” said Spalding coach Brian Phipps. “I’m happy for our guys to get the win. Severna Park does a great job, Coach [Dave] Earl’s got a very well-coached team and a talented team, so give credit to them. But I’m happy for our guys.”
For Sherwood, McDaniel and junior middie Tucker Denault, a trio of Severna Park residents who play for Spalding, the win held special significance.
“It’s everything,” said Sherwood. “We’ve played with these guys and against these guys for our whole lives. I’ve got a lot of friends on that team. So, this means everything, and this is one of the biggest games of the season for us.”
Said Denault, “We grew up playing football with these guys, and in middle school we were boys playing football together and everything, and then we split up. Two years ago they beat us by one and last year they beat us by one, and then this year we got the win.”
McDaniel said he couldn’t have dreamt up a better scenario than scoring his first goal of the year in a win over Severna Park.
“I don’t even have words, that was the happiest moment of my life right there,” McDaniel said with a laugh. “It came right back to me, and I just shot it again, and it went in. I was so happy. … It’s a big thing to finally beat them. For me, this is definitely the biggest game of the year.”
Severna Park got right back to it a couple days later, needing a game-high four goals from Panebianco and three from Mikie Harmeyer, including the game-winner in double overtime, to defeat Severn at Severn, 9-8. Fox, now the Falcons’ goalie after an injury to senior Shane Carr, made nine saves against the Admirals in victory, and Severna Park received additional scores from Kurt Klaus and Maher; Maher also had four assists.
For Severn, Jarosz had three goals; Rentz scored two goals and had an assist; Kain Domenech and Kinsella both had a goal and an assist; and Sotiropoulos-Lawrence made eight saves in the defeat.
For Severna Park, Spalding represented one of the Falcons’ toughest opponents so far, and the loss should ultimately prove useful as Severna Park seeks to firm up any weaknesses with the postseason approaching.
“I think we can always get better,” said coach Earl, a message that stays consistent through wins and losses. “Hats off to Spalding. They had a great game plan against us, they’re extremely well-coached, they’re very athletic, and they took it to us tonight. … You learn a lot. You learn a lot about yourselves. Everybody has to look in the mirror, and it starts with me. We have to figure out what went wrong, look at the film and go from there.”