Baltimore Sun boys lacrosse preview: Storylines, players to watch and top 15 teams heading into 2022 season – Baltimore Sun

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Here’s what you need to know for the 2022 high school boys lacrosse season in the Baltimore area:
Can Archbishop Spalding get past the traditional MIAA A powers to claim the program’s first championship?
Spalding attackman Michael Weisshaar (8) celebrates a goal against Calvert Hall in an MIAA A Conference semifinal game at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium last spring. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)
The Cavaliers made monumental strides last season in making their first championship game and have a tight group returning led by C. Markland Kelly Award winner Michael Weisshaar. Despite falling to perennial power Boys’ Latin in the title game, 9-8, they showed they belonged. The game’s final minute spoke volumes, as the Cavaliers scored twice to force the Lakers to win a faceoff with 11 seconds left to cement the victory.
Two prominent MIAA A programs have new head coaches.
Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference powers Gilman and St. Paul’s have new coaches, but both programs didn’t go far to find them. At Gilman, Tony Incontrera, who was an assistant under former coach John Nostrant last season, takes over with an emphasis on defense. Steven Settembrino is the new Crusaders coach, replacing Trey Whitty, with plans to bring an up-tempo style on offense. Both bring successful resumes. Incontrera won a state title at Marriotts Ridge and Settembrino coached in college at Mercyhurst, Binghamton and his alma mater, UMBC.
The MPSSAA reclassification has stockpiled Class 3A with several 4A powers.
Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s Class 3A is loaded. It starts with the state’s top program, Severna Park, moving down to 3A after winning its fifth straight state crown in 4A last year. Also moving down to 3A is Catonsville, which lost to the Falcons in the 4A title game, and another Anne Arundel County power in Arundel. Broadneck, which fell to the Falcons, 6-5, in a 4A East region title game last year and was perhaps the second-best team in the classification, stays put and is now the team to beat. Elsewhere, Harford County power C. Milton Wright, which competed in 3A last year, drops to the 2A ranks to join defending champ Hereford, runner-up Glenelg and upstart Century.
Severna Park celebrates after beating Catonsville in the Class 4A state championship game last spring. (Steve Ruark for Capital Gazette/Capital Gazette)
Severna Park won its fifth straight state title and sixth straight Anne Arundel County title last year. What separates the Falcons from the competition?
The Falcons consistently get quality talent from several youth programs, and their player development goes beyond the lacrosse field. Coach Dave Earl and his staff are committed to nurturing quality student-athletes who are set up to make a positive impact off the field as much as on. The culture and discipline that comes with it breeds success.
Goals are expected to be tough to come by this season in Howard County.
Scoring goals in Howard County will be no easy task with most of the league’s perennial powers returning experienced talent on defense. Marriotts Ridge’s Tyler Gladstone is one of the state’s best goalies, and a handful of defensemen that earned all-county honors last season are returning, including Casey Pung (Marriotts Ridge), Will Stephanos (Howard), Liam Curtin (River Hill) and Michael Krohn (Glenelg). At Mt. Hebron, all-county pick Nick Payne was lost for the season with an ACL injury.
Aiden Dixon, Fallston, faceoff specialist/midfielder, junior
Just how dominant was Dixon on faceoffs in leading the Cougars to the 1A state crown last year? He won an astonishing 60 of 63 in the team’s three state tournament games. With impeccable technique and athleticism to match, Dixon consistently sets the table for Fallston, winning 81% of his faceoffs and adding 17 goals, 11 assists and 150 ground balls last year.
Tyler Gladstone, Marriotts Ridge, goalie, senior
After making 67 saves while splitting time with senior Thomas Coakley last year — the Mustangs yielded a stingy 7.3 goals per game — the full-time job now belongs to Gladstone. A three-sport standout and Grove City commit, he brings great technique, confidence and the proper temperament for the demanding position.
Century faceoff specialist Erik Harrell, last year’s Carroll County Times boys lacrosse Player of the Year, uses power, quickness and technique to continually get the Knights the ball. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)
Erik Harrell, Century, faceoff specialist, senior
Century was the Carroll County champion for the first time in program history last year and Harrell’s work on faceoffs was a big reason. The sturdy 5-foot-8, 205-pound standout uses power, quickness and technique to continually get the Knights the ball, as he won 60 of 72 faceoffs for an impressive 83% clip last season.
AJ Larkin, Loyola Blakefield, defenseman, senior
Primed for the task of covering top offensive threats, the Maryland commit has all the assets found in a quality close defenseman. He brings speed, strength, tenacity, smart positioning and skills in containing opponents and getting the Dons from defense to offense.
Nate Levicki, Broadneck, long-stick midfielder, senior
The Mount Saint Mary’s commit brings top-notch athleticism, game sense and fierce competitiveness wrapped up in a 6-1, 200-pound frame. With a knack for taking the right angles matching his physical prowess, Levicki consistently makes winning plays.
McCabe Millon, McDonogh, attackman, junior
A relentless competitor with a diverse skill set, Millon smoothly operates with an ability to find his own shot as well as set up teammates. The Duke commit — Inside Lacrosse’s No. 1 prospect in the 2023 class — totaled 27 goals and 23 assists in 11 games last season.
Boys’ Latin senior Dom Pietramala, left, who is coming off a 38-goal, 14-assist effort in the Lakers’ MIAA A championship season, is one of the country’s most explosive dodgers and finishers. (Kenneth K. Lam)
Dom Pietramala, Boys’ Latin, attackman, senior
The North Carolina commit, who is coming off a 38-goal, 14-assist effort in the Lakers’ MIAA A championship season, is one of the country’s most explosive dodgers and finishers. Inside Lacrosse’s No. 2 rated player continues to round out his game, and his fiery competitiveness sets a vital tone in practice and games.
Brian Ruppel, Catonsville, goalie, senior
The Maryland commit brings utmost confidence to the Comets with uncanny instincts as a shot stopper to go with strong communication and distribution skills. In a sensational junior season, he led Catonsville to the 4A state title game, allowing just over three goals per game with a 70% save rate.
Truitt Sunderland, Calvert Hall, attackman, senior
Inside Lacrosse’s No. 4 prospect in the 2022 class, the Virginia commit is healthy again after a broken foot cost him his junior year. Opening with a 35-goal, 22-assist freshman season that contributed to an MIAA A championship, the Cardinals’ dynamic catalyst on offense is determined to win another crown.
Michael Weisshaar, Archbishop Spalding, midfielder, senior
The returning C. Markland Kelly Award winner, Weisshaar brings do-everything skills up and down the field with unwavering confidence that rubs off on his teammates. The Towson commit finished with 48 goals, 23 assists and 53 ground balls in leading the Cavaliers to their first MIAA A title game last season.
1. McDonogh
Coach: Andy Hilgartner
Last season: 10-1, MIAA A Conference semifinalists
Outlook: The Eagles have experienced talent returning at every position with extra motivation after their undefeated season ended in the semifinals last year. With goalie Anthony Wilson anchoring an experienced defense that also boasts Jonny Cool and Malachi Jones, the Eagles will be hard to score on. McCabe Millon is a special talent on attack.
No looking back: After missing two seasons, Calvert Hall lacrosse star Truitt Sunderland set to savor senior year https://t.co/8YJyXF7twF
2. Calvert Hall
Coach: Bryan Kelly
Last season: 8-5, MIAA A Conference semifinalists
Outlook: With a strong senior class and more strengths than potential concerns, the Cardinals have the goods to be in the MIAA A championship mix. Truitt Sunderland is the dynamic quarterback of a potent attack that also features Shuey Kelly. Jordan Wray brings versatility playing on attack or midfield, and the close defense returns intact led by JK Kelly.
3. Boys’ Latin
Coach: Brian Farrell
Last season: 9-4. MIAA A Conference champion
Outlook: The Lakers proved plenty resilient in a special postseason run that produced another championship for the storied program last season, and Farrell is seeing many of the same qualities early on in this year’s group. Dom Pietramala — the son of former Johns Hopkins coach and Hall of Fame player Dave Pietramala — is one of the country’s finest attackmen and sets a confident tone, while goalie Cardin Stoller is the steadying influence in back.
4. Archbishop Spalding
Coach: Brian Phipps
Last season: 12-3, MIAA A Conference finalist
Outlook: Last year’s team enjoyed a program first in reaching the MIAA A title game, falling to Boys’ Latin by a goal. A gifted senior class, led by C. Markland Kelly Award winner Michael Weisshaar at midfield, is determined to win the elusive championship. Alex Ross and Jackson Roberts key the defense and attackmen Race Ripley and Ryan Schrier join Weisshaar to make the potent offense go.
5. Loyola Blakefield
Coach: Gene Ubriaco
Last season: 8-6, MIAA A quarterfinalists
Outlook: An experienced, efficient defense will be the Dons’ calling card early as a young offense — minus five starters from last year — hits its stride. AJ Larkin sets a dominant tone as the defensive glue with sturdy help from Bill Dwan. Attackman Mason Cook and midfielder Owen Dixon — both underclassmen — are key components to producing goals with faceoff specialist Cole Myers playing a vital role in providing possessions.
St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly gives words of encouragement from the sidelines during a game against Severn last spring. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)
6. St. Mary’s
Coach: Victory Lilly
Last season: 6-4, MIAA A Conference quarterfinalists
Outlook: A disappointing end to last season has the Saints looking for more and they have a good mix of returning players and added talent to make noise. Attackmen Nick Golini and Will Hopkins are back to supply the offense, and defenseman Riley Reece returns from an injury to help promising goalie Zack Overend shut down opposing attacks.
7. Severna Park
Coach: Dave Earl
Last season: 13-0, 4A state champion
Outlook: After an unprecedented fifth straight title and 10th overall, Earl returns after a one-year hiatus with the same lofty expectations. A largely new group will take aim — the Falcons had nine seniors starting in last year’s title game — with attackman Joaquin Villagomez poised to lead the way. The Falcons’ longstanding success is based on improving each day with the expectation of playing on the season’s final day.
After an unprecedented fifth straight title and 10th overall, Severna Park coach Dave Earl returns after a one-year hiatus with the team having the same lofty expectations. (By Matthew Cole / )
8. St. Paul’s
Coach: Steven Settembrino
Last season: 4-7, MIAA A Conference quarterfinalists
Outlook: Settembrino, who served as offensive coordinator the past two years and has extensive college coaching experience, replaces former coach Trey Whitty with plans to run an up-tempo style and encourage his players to take ownership of the team. Midfield is a strength led by Michael Smyth, Jake Bair and long pole Keagan Tracey.
9. Broadneck
Coach: Jeff McGuire
Last season: 8-2, 4A East Region I finalist
Outlook: With quality experience throughout the lineup, the Bruins are once again most qualified to oust five-time state champion and Anne Arundel County rival Severna Park. Nate Levicki is a dominant presence on defense with midfielder Kyle Pierce and attackman Davis Fisher the other catalysts. Added motivation comes from the 6-5 region title game loss to the aforementioned Falcons.
With their experience and strength at midfield and attack, the Admirals will look to play an up-tempo style with attackman Paul Baldwin and midfielders Justin Queen and Jacob Todd, pictured last spring, the starting points. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)
10. Severn
Coach: Joe Christie
Last season: 9-6, MIAA A Conference quarterfinalist
Outlook: With their experience and strength at midfield and attack, the Admirals will look to play an up-tempo style with attackman Paul Baldwin and midfielders Justin Queen and Jacob Todd. Sophomore Reid Gills is one of the area’s top faceoff specialists and goalie Will Perez will be leaned on heavily in the early going with a new starting defense in front of him.
11. Gilman
Coach: Tony Incontrera
Last season: 4-9, MIAA A Conference first round
Outlook: Incontrera, who was an assistant coach under former coach John Nostrant last season, takes over a young group with the aim of improving each day. The first-year Greyhounds coach, who won a state title and went 77-39 in his seven seasons at Marriotts Ridge, emphasizes defense and has standout goalie Kyle Morris as a starting point. Midfielder Chase Brody brings strong two-way play and leadership in the middle.
Brian Ruppel, a Maryland commit. brings utmost confidence to the Comets with uncanny instincts as a shot stopper to go with strong communication and distribution skills. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)
12. Catonsville
Coach: KR Schultz
Last season: 11-1, 4A state finalist
Outlook: After reaching the state title game last year, the final piece of the puzzle for a closely-knit senior team is bringing home the program’s first crown. Goalie Brian Ruppel, attackmen Byron Newman and Frank Manalansan III, middies Johnny Bolster and Tyler Mikalaski, defenseman James Azbill and junior faceoff specialist Nathan Wess lead the deep roster.
13. Marriotts Ridge
Coach: Tom Minard
Last season: 8-2, 3A state semifinalists
Outlook: The Howard County co-champs will be downright stingy with senior goalie Tyler Gladstone bringing special qualities to the cage and UMBC-bound defenseman Casey Pung another standout in the back. More seniors are expected to make a major impact, with Topher Kennedy the catalyst on attack and Mac Clevenger and Charlie Burd the centerpieces in the midfield.
14. Hereford
Coach: Kyle Leppert
Last season: 8-2, 2A state champion
Outlook: The Bulls staked claim to the program’s 10th state title last season with one-goal wins in the semifinal and championship games. It was valuable bonding experience for a team that has 17 seniors. Defenseman Austin Clarke and midfielders Mac Tiller and Logan Sinsebox provide the foundation for a team that appears primed for a repeat.
15. Glenelg
Coach: Josh Hatmaker
Last season: 9-2, 2A state semifinalists
Outlook: The co-Howard County champion Gladiators have a solid returning core to go with some promising underclassmen. On defense, they are big, strong and athletic with junior Michael Krohn and senior Ryan Stanley the glue. Rocco Buscher is the mainstay at midfield with Nick Dalton a lefty scoring threat on attack.
Other teams considered: Arundel (10-3), Century (8-1), C. Milton Wright (13-1), Fallston (10-1), Mt. Hebron (4-4)
Copyright © 2022, Baltimore Sun
Copyright © 2022, Baltimore Sun

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