The final day of regular season play in the MIAA A lacrosse league did not disappoint Tuesday as several rivalry games helped decide playoff placement.

No. 2 Calvert Hall used another stellar performance by senior faceoff specialist Jackson Strickland and a 3-goal contribution from senior midfielder Ryan Botek to dominate the fifth-ranked Dons for most of the second half before holding on for a 6-5 victory at Russo Stadium in Towson.

Tied at 1 at halftime, the Cardinals (11-4 overall, 8-2 MIAA A) surged to a 6-3 lead midway through the fourth before Loyola scored two straight to pull to 6-5 with 24 seconds left in regulation.

Strickland scooped up his 11th faceoff win, and Calvert Hall ran out the clock to secure the No. 2 seed and a bye into the MIAA A semifinals next Tuesday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Junior goalie Alex Schwartz had an outstanding game for the Cards, finishing with 13 saves.

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Calvert Hall, which lost its first MIAA A match by 10 goals, has won five straight and is playing with renewed confidence, especially on defense, according to coach Bryan Kelly.

“I’ve always believed in this team,” said Kelly. “We’re getting better each and every game. We’ve improved dramatically defensively. Give them (Loyola) credit. They had a great game plan and took us out of some things. I’m really proud of the way we fought.”

“We’re smiling out there, having fun. I just tell my guys to be in the right spots, and they are,” said Strickland. “That’s where we get the confidence from.”

Matt Burham scored twice for Loyola (10-5, 7-3 MIAA A), which nearly overcame a 3-goal deficit in the fourth quarter.

“It’s tough to win when you only score five goals. Their goalie played great. We haven’t won a game where we haven’t got to double digits, and we haven’t lost a game when we have,” said Dons coach Gene Ubriaco. “They (Calvert Hall) got the lion’s share of faceoffs too so we played a lot of defense.”

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Loyola, which was the pacesetter in the nation’s toughest boys lacrosse league two weeks ago, will be No. 3 seed in the postseason. The Dons will host an opening round match Friday.

“Now we have to string together three in a row. We’ve won seven in a row, so we can do it. The guys are deflated right now, so we have to get rid of that and get back to work.”

St. Mary's Nick Golini prepares to fire a shot as Severn's Andrew Beard defends during Tuesday's MIAA A Conference match. Golini scored the winning goal in overtime as the No. 3 Saints overcame a 7-1 halftime deficit for a 9-8 triumph over the eighth-ranked Admirals in Anne Arundel County. (Laura Johnson/St. Mary's Athletics)

St. Mary’s had to work, and then some, against Severn. Down 7-1 at halftime, the Saints got the game-tying goal from Gavin Burlace with 1 minute, 24 seconds left in regulation.

With 2:13 left in overtime, Nick Golini’s unassisted strike capped an improbable 9-8 victory for the third-ranked Saints (14-4, 7-3 MIAA A) over the eighth-ranked Admirals (11-6, 4-6 MIAA A) at Barbour Family Field in Severna Park. The comeback gives St. Mary’s the No. 4 playoff seed.

No. 4 Boys’ Latin continued its mastery of sixth-ranked St. Paul’s with a 9-5 decision at J. Duncan Smith Field in Roland Park. The Lakers (11-5, 7-3 MIAA A), who will be the No. 5 seed, have won seven straight in the area’s oldest boys lacrosse rivalry, and lead the series, 57-47-4.

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No. 1 and defending champ McDonogh (15-1, 9-1 MIAA A) secured the top seed with a 12-8 victory over Gilman (5-11, 3-7 MIAA A). Luke Miller scored five goals for the Eagles and Brendan Miller, Bogue Hahn and Ben Firlie each added two scores.

The stage is set for the pursuit of the MIAA A championship. Two first round matches take place Friday with Loyola hosting No. 6 seed St. Paul’s (8-7, 6-4 MIAA A), and Boys’ Latin traveling to Annapolis to play St. Mary’s at Pascal Field.

The BL/St. Mary’s winner will take on McDonogh in a semifinal at Navy Tuesday. The other semifinal will have Calvert Hall playing the winner of Loyola and St. Paul’s.

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