Battle-Tested Southern Boys Lacrosse in Midst of Another Deep Playoff Push
The Southern boys lacrosse team from Anne Arundel County has made it a habit of making deep runs in the postseason, and 2017 is no different.
The Bulldogs square off with Queen Anne's today in the MPSSAA 2A/1A East regional final today. It's a rematch of last year's regional final, which Southern won 10-2. A win today would give Southern regional titles in three straight seasons.
"We always set goals individually as a team every year, and the kids all want to achieve the apex of success," head coach Brendan Brace said.
Southern definitely has to do it the hard way to reach the pinnacle.
The Bulldogs are the smallest school in Anne Arundel County, which is a hotbed for boys lacrosse talent. Southern is routinely asked to compete against programs that regularly compete for MPSSAA 4A/3A titles including Severna Park, South River, Broadneck and Annapolis.
Despite the difficult conditions, Southern has excelled this season. The Bulldogs are currently 10-4, and picked up wins against South River and Annapolis in the regular season.
"Playing 4A schools and being competitive year in and year out is important for our program- there is a lot of good lacrosse in this county," Brace said. "Playing quality opponents all year long gives us a great opportunity to prepare for what we may see in the playoffs. South River and Annapolis are good teams and to get some success versus them this year is great."
The gauntlet of a regular season has truly prepared Southern for this postseason. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents, Patuxent and McDonough, 34-3.
Brace expects the upcoming regional final with Queen Anne's to be Southern's toughest postseason match up yet. The Lions have an excellent lacrosse history, and even managed to win a state title in 2010.
"They are a very talented team, we played them last year in the region finals," Brace said. "They have a tradition as a good team so we are making sure to prepare for them accordingly."
For the Bulldogs to have a good game, they'll need to get a good game from its plethora of attacking talent.
The group is led by senior Ben DeBlauw, who has 38 goals and 16 assists. Sophomore Colin Phipps has also been crucial with 28 goals and 26 assists, while senior Brandon Thomas has 22 goals and 12 assists.
Southern has also gotten production from its midfield, which has been led by senior James O'Brien, who has scored 10 goals and dished out seven assists. A pair of juniors in Logan Clingerman and Collin Fleming have also been excellent. Clingerman has chipped in 10 goals and four assists, while Fleming has contributed nine goals and seven assists. Senior longstick middie DeAndre' Walls rounds out the group with five goals and seven assists.
Along with a good season from its defense, Southern has gotten stellar play from its faceoff specialist, Nic Pomerleau. Pomerleau, a junior, was named first team all-county after winning 63% of his match ups.
It's a talented group with loads of experience- Southern has 10 seniors on its roster, some of which have three years of varsity experience.
The hope is that this is the group that breaks through and wins Southern its first lacrosse state title. The Bulldogs were knocked out in overtime in last year's semifinal against Liberty, and finished runners up to Easton in 2015.
Though a win would be massive for the program, Brace focuses more on the process his team has undergone this year, rather than the potential finishing point.
"They have prepared for this and are a dedicated group. They want to achieve the pinnacle of success and we try to instill a desire for that," Brace said. "It would mean a lot to our seniors and the school but the journey is what we are focused on. If a state title is part of that journey than it is a pleasant byproduct of the work the kids have put in."
|May 17th, 2017||By: Wick Eisenberg|