Boys' Lacrosse Preview for April 15-16

The Third Annual Checking for Cancer Lacrosse Tournament will be the hub for boys' lacrosse action this weekend as nearly a dozen of the nation's top-ranked teams are set to square off. Plus, a number of key in-state clashes are on the schedule in California, Texas, New York and Maryland, while the state championship is up for grabs in South Carolina. With intriguing inter-state and inter-regional games on the docket this weekend, the potential exists for some unexpected and thrilling storylines across the board.

Host school Haverford gets things underway Saturday at the Checking for Cancer Lacrosse Tournament just outside of Philadelphia. The Fords will take on Connecticut power Darien in one of the weekend's most anticipated boys' contests. Despite sporting one of the nation's toughest overall schedules, the Fords continue to roll at the midpoint of the regular season. The squad is coming off of big wins over St. Joseph's Prep (9-8 in OT) and Inter-Ac rival Malvern Prep (7-4) to stay undefeated at 9-0 overall. Along with goalie Conor Kelly, seniors Hup Hupfeldt and Joe McCallion have been dynamic all season long for the Fords, particularly in the clutch.

However, an elite Darien squad should give Haverford quite a test on its home turf. The Blue Wave finished No. 1 in Connecticut and No. 11 nationally in the final 2010 LaxPower rankings en route to their sixth consecutive state title. As for '11, the squad looks as strong as ever. Seniors Ben Preston and Graham Maybell will look to push the tempo from the very onset against an opportunistic Haverford squad a team they certainly cannot afford to fall behind early to. All in all, expect a physical, fast-paced game that could very well be decided in overtime.

Another featured match-up at this year's tournament pits two longtime lacrosse powers as Georgetown Prep (DC) faces Delbarton (NJ) on Saturday. The talented programs have met in each of the last three seasons, with Georgetown Prep winning two of those match-ups. The Hoyas (9-2) have been most impressive this season thanks to a balanced, experienced roster. Expect the Hoyas to come out inspired after falling to Bullis on Wednesday, 8-7, in overtime.

On the other side, Delbarton has already bounced back nicely after an inconsistent season last year. Now 4-1 overall with a key win over Chatham, the Green Wave can raise eyebrows with a solid win over Georgetown. Senior attackman Clay Haarmann will likely force the Georgetown Prep defense into a variety of double teams, while midfielder Kieran Kenny is a scoring threat any time he touches the ball. After a tough two-goal loss to national power St. Anthony's to open up the season, Delbarton can prove it belongs back in the national picture with a victory this weekend.

All the while, defending Pennsylvania state champion Conestoga looks to dispatch a talented Greenwich (CT) squad that's hoping to bounce back from a 13-6 loss to rival Darien. After notching impressive wins over Boys' Latin and St. Joseph's Prep to open the season, the Pioneers (7-0) have steamrolled their competition with consistent play on both ends of the field. Conestoga has averaged 14.4 goals per game in its last five while limiting opponents to an average of just two goals per contest. However, a win over Greenwich will certainly be no walk in the park. The Cardinals' talented trio of Stephen Dodd, David Dickson and Eric Foote should be a force to be reckoned with offensively and will likely give the Conestoga defense all it can handle. While Conestoga has the edge on paper, Greenwich certainly has upset capability.

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