In all the years of high school, college and professional lacrosse Marcus Holman had played at Homewood Field, there was one trick he’d never attempted: kicking the ball during a game.

But, after his stick was swiped out of his right hand late in the fourth quarter of a Premier Lacrosse League game last weekend, the Baltimore native watched the ball bounce twice and then kicked it to Ryan Drenner — Justin Tucker style.

“I’m a huge Ravens fan,” Holman joked in his Gilman School Alumni shirt.

The ball flew past Drenner, but Holman had to give his best impression of the Ravens kicker as the PLL — a roving professional lacrosse tour that could bring a team to the region next year — returned to Baltimore last weekend. Unsurprisingly, the collection of the best lacrosse players in the world is heavy on talent from Baltimore and Maryland. Ryan Boyle, another Gilman alum, was honored during the weekend after being inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

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“It’s kind of like home-field advantage,” said Drenner, a Finksburg native and Towson alum.

The familiarity with Homewood Field was a given for Holman. His father, Cannons head coach Brian Holman, played for the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays and served as an assistant with them in the late 1980s and then again in the ’90s.

Marcus Holman watched as children took the field during halftime and was reminded of his own experience as a little kid being shepherded around the locker room by his dad. Paul Rabil, whom he idolized as a high schooler, sat field-side too.

“This is where I grew up and loved the game,” Holman said.

Holman’s first organized play at Homewood Field came in a playoff matchup when he was at Gilman. Later, as an attack for North Carolina, he took one trip to JHU as a freshman in 2010, recording two points in UNC’s 11-7 win. And, since the PLL began in 2019, he’s been back four times.

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“It’s been cool at each level, and each year it’s become more and more special,” Holman said.

Archers defensive midfielder Piper Bond — a third Gilman alum who made an appearance over the weekend — made his first professional tour stop in Baltimore last weekend. Bond had played at Homewood Field only once before, when he was a junior in high school.

“I think we got the win that day. It was nice to get a win today, too,” Bond said.

The night before the Archers’ 14-13 overtime win over Atlas, Bond went to Grano Pasta Bar in Hampden with his mom, ordering his usual fusilli bolognese with a side of meatballs. That was enough carbs to fuel his performance of one assist and three ground ball pickups. He marched onto the field with 25 family members and friends in the stands behind him.

“To see my name up at the beginning of the game when they were announcing starting lineups and hearing [my family] give a nice little roar was pretty cool,” Bond said. “It just makes it that much more meaningful to me to be home and playing in front of them.”

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Bond was drafted by the Archers in the third round this year, one pick ahead of DeMatha Catholic High School alum Garrett Leadmon, whom he played with on the FCA Lacrosse club team. There was little transition time for Bond between his time at the University of Pennsylvania and the PLL, but he has quickly adapted to facing the world’s top talent as a starter for the Archers.

“Just being new to the mix and coming with a ton of fire is a lot of fun,” Bond said. “It’s a really competitive league.”

The Cannons, despite being named after one of the original Major League Lacrosse teams in Boston, had by far the most players from Maryland, with seven. Drenner and Holman trained at Gilman before the season and have flown out of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport together for the earlier games.

Drenner appreciated the simple luxury of sleeping in his own bed Friday night.

“We didn’t have to go from the airport to the hotel and then the hotel to the practice field. We were in our comfort zone,” Drenner said.

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The closest Drenner has gotten to playing at home recently has been coaching his son Beckham’s lacrosse team. Beckham had the chance to see his dad play in person, even joining him at the podium postgame.

“Really intense,” Beckham said about the Cannons’ 12-8 win over the Waterdogs.

Holman said he feels a connection to some of the Baltimore guys on the field after finding Drenner for an easy step-down shot in the second quarter to tie the game at 3. Holman scored on his own a minute later from in front of the crease.

The Cannons led for the rest of the night to clinch their fifth straight victory and a playoff spot, the P.A. announcer saying “Good night, Baltimore” as they departed.

Holman is confident about the Cannons’ chances in the postseason, which begins Sept. 4. Bond is also looking forward to another playoff run — the Orioles’.

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“I’m coming down for all those games if I can,” Bond said.

Bond went to some of the games during Baltimore’s 2014 playoff appearance, noting the “insane” energy around the city. He had an Adam Jones jersey back then but has grown out of it. He waltzed out of the Johns Hopkins locker room with a stitched Sammy Sosa Orioles jersey, a birthday gift he received in college from Chrome midfielder Sam Handley.

Just like Holman, he wore his Baltimore pride on his chest.

anish.vasudevan@thebaltimorebanner.com

Anish Vasudevan is from Cupertino, California, and is currently the editor-in-chief for The Daily Orange, Syracuse's student-run newspaper. He previously worked as a beat writer for the Chatham Anglers. Anish is interested in telling stories that expand beyond what happens in between the white lines. 

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