Recap: King of the Spring 2011 Face-Off Classic

Just one game remains this week at the second annual Brine King of the Spring Face-Off Classic in Durham, North Carolina, where many of the Southeast's top boys' lacrosse programs have competed for regional supremacy over the past five days. With overtime victories, upsets and some unexpected lopsided wins highlighting the slate, it's safe to say the Classic proved to be another success and a true showcase of some of the most talented teams in the region.

Arguably the most dominating overall performance of the tournament came from longtime Maryland power McDonogh. After falling to McCallie (TN) in last year's showcase, the Eagles made sure they wouldn't be upset this time around. On Saturday, McDonogh took its game to another level and finished with a 15-0 rout of McCallie (0-3). The Eagles (2-0) controlled play on offense and defense throughout and even took a commanding 12-0 lead by the midpoint.

As a follow-up, the Eagles handily defeated another defending state champion, this time a 13-4 victory over Highland Park (TX) on Monday. The Eagles took advantage of an injury-plagued Fighting Scots (5-3) team and grabbed a 6-0 edge at halftime before coasting to the win.

The dynamic duo of Brenny Daly and Keegan Michel proved to be unstoppable throughout the entire tournament for McDonogh, combining for 11 goals and 6 assists in two games. The Eagles will cap this year's tournament against Durham Academy on Wednesday.

All the while, despite playing in just one match-up in this year's showcase, Apex (NC) still made its presence felt with a thundering 13-1 victory over Glenelg Country (MD). Apex took control early in the game and never relinquished, storming out to a 6-0 halftime edge. Sporting a balanced roster, Apex (5-0) is already proving they can make a run for the title in the North Carolina this season. In five games so far this season, the Cougars have allowed a total of just seven goals.

Meanwhile, perhaps the most surprising performances of the showcase came from Tennessee's Montgomery Bell Academy. The Big Red went 2-1 overall in this year's Classic, posting impressive wins over R.J. Reynolds (NC) and Highland Park. Against R.J. Reynolds (2-1), Montgomery Bell received two late goals from Gray Curtis to cap an impressive 8-7 come-from-behind victory. Then against Highland Park, the team rallied from an early 5-1 deficit to claim a 10-8 victory on Sunday. The Big Red was close to making it a perfect showing at the Classic, but got nipped by Blue Ridge School (VA), 11-10, in overtime Friday in another thrilling tournament game.

St. Mark's (TX) improved to 10-0 overall on the campaign after posting four wins in four days. The Lions downed North Carolina foes Durham Academy and Needham-Broughton before dispatching McCallie and MICDS (Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School). In four convincing wins, St. Mark's averaged just below 11 goals per game while giving up 4.75 goals per contest. With Highland Park running into some injury problems early on, St. Mark's may just be the team to beat in Texas in '11. As evidenced in the King of the Spring tournament, Will Perkins, Matt Murphy and Gil Cassagne have been major difference-makers offensively for the Lions and will likely command extra attention down the stretch.

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2011-03-15



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