St. Paul's/McDonogh Heads Apr. 1-3 Boys' Games

High school boys' lacrosse action heats up from coast to coast this weekend as the states of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts finally get into the mix. Plus, with Florida and Texas squads already jousting for playoff positioning, this weekend's schedule shapes up to be the most exciting yet.

In the premium match-up of the weekend, Mid-Atlantic powerhouses McDonogh and St. Paul's go head-to-head on Friday. Last season, both teams split a pair of games and have historically always played close. Since 2005, the teams are 4-4 against each other overall. With tough schedules, a handful of impressive wins to date, and rosters loaded with Division I talent, Friday's contest should be another thriller.

Despite a 12-10 loss to Haverford School earlier this month, the Eagles (5-1) have steamrolled opponents in the early going, posting impressive wins over Avon Old Farms, McCallie and Severn. All the while, St. Paul's (5-2) has endured one of the toughest schedules in the country, posting key victories over Georgetown Prep, Severn and Avon Old Farms, but falling to elites Haverford School and Calvert Hall, both by one goal. With this game destined to go down to the wire, expect both teams to turn to their go-to players for production late. For St. Paul's, all eyes will be on Taylor Michel and Jay Carlson to deliver in the clutch. Meanwhile, McDonogh will likely center its attack around standouts Brady Faby and Brennan Daly.

Turning to the Southeast, it's a rematch of the 2010 District 2 title game as Ponte Vedra and Bolles face-off in Florida on Friday. Last season, Bolles upended a previously undefeated Ponte Vedra squad en route to the state semifinals. This year, the stakes are high once again and both teams enter the match-up riding a wave of momentum. After a 9-8 loss to Lake Highland Prep back on February 26, Bolles has won 10 consecutive games, with seven of those games seeing the team score at least 17 goals.

As for Ponte Vedra, the squad has won 9-straight games after losing its opener to Lake Highland Prep, 10-3. The Sharks will look for another smothering performance from its defense. The unit has held opponents to five goals or less in seven of its last nine games. Offensively, Ponte Vedra boasts a balanced attack that includes Mike Power, Brendan Francis and Anthony Pradella. After missing the playoffs last season due to that district title loss to Bolles, the Sharks will certainly be seeking revenge this weekend.

Also on Friday, Florida powers Winter Park (9-2) and Lake Highland Prep (10-1) go head-to-head. These teams split a pair of exciting games in 10 and are both loaded once again this season. Expect a close contest from start to finish.

Looking at New York action this weekend, a handful of intriguing match-ups are on the docket, some pitting longtime rivals on the field and others featuring top-ranked inter-regional foes.

On Saturday, lacrosse juggernauts Yorktown and John Jay-Cross River resume their longtime rivalry in the season opener for both. Since Yorktown dropped down from Class A this year to Class B, this could very well be a Section 1 playoff preview. Yorktown has a deep, experienced unit headed by midfielders Tyler Schuldt and Justin Mabus. John Jay, meanwhile, enters the match-up just as stacked. The Indians will look for offensive production from standouts Mike Daniello (Johns Hopkins) and Jake Weil (Dartmouth). The annual match-up has also turned into a community gathering in support of a good cause over the years. This season, weekend activities will be dedicated to the battle against ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

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