Loyola Blakefield of Maryland’s MIAA ‘A’ Conference pulled off the first major upset of the early season Tuesday night with a 16-14 victory at the Haverford School (Pa.), the reigning Super 25 champion and the No. 1 team in the preseason rankings.
Playing their first game under new head coach Ben Rubeor, the Dons from Towson, Md., grabbed their first win against Haverford, an Inter-Ac powerhouse, since 2013 – the same year Loyola last won the MIAA ‘A’ title.
“I think we had a motivated group of boys today, and the challenge for us is going to be able to come out for every game and play with that kind of energy,” Ruboer said. “We have to figure out what makes this group click. But today we were sharp.
“I think (Haverford) is a very good team. I think we were kind of in a position to surprise them – not that they’re a team that doesn’t prepare. But they were coming off a very nice win against St. Paul’s. And I think we just came out with a good energy.”
The Haverford loss means a new No. 1 is expected when the first Super 25 of the regular season is released this week.
Rubeor, the 2015 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Lacrosse Coach of the Year, guided St. Mary’s to the coveted ‘A’ Conference title, upending McDonogh 13-8 in the finale. The Saints had lost to McDonogh 9-6 during the regular season.
Rubeor was lauded for leading the Saints to wins in their final seven games, culminating with the program’s first MIAA title since 1996.
Tuesday’s result could foreshadow what some in Maryland have suggested: Rubeor could quickly turn Loyola Blakefield – a program, like St. Mary’s last year, in no shortage of underrated, Division I-caliber players – into a powerhouse in conference.
In addition to Williams’ seven-point night, a number of upperclassmen contributed important performances for Loyola against Haverford. Senior attackman Nick Goles (Dickinson) registered three goals and two assists, and junior attackman Phil Weis (Furman) contributed two goals and two assists. Senior midfielder Brendan Doyle (Mount St. Mary’s) added three goals.
Junior goalkeeper Jake Stout (Towson) made 10 saves.
Haverford was led in the loss by preseason ALL-USA first-team midfielder Dox Aitken (Virginia), who scored three times and added an assist. Forry Smith (Johns Hopkins), a preseason ALL-USA third-team attackman, scored four times. Alex DeMarco (UPenn) made nine saves against Loyola.
The Dons now embark on a tough stretch of games. On Friday, they face a Malvern Prep (Pa.) team that has started the season at 2-0 and outscored its first two opponents by 36-15 and then will meet Landon (Md.), No. 11 in the preseason Super 25 rankings, on March 22.
Up next for Haverford is a high-profile matchup with the Culver Academy (Ind.),No. 3 in the Super 25 rankings. The two teams met in late May last year. The Fords won that meeting 13-9.