By Tom Peace
BaltimoreLacrosseNews.com, Posted 2/26/15
OWSON, Md. – Corrigan Sports Enterprises and PNC announced the field for the second annual PNC Lacrosse Invitational Thursday at a press conference at Cunningham’s.
The special Mid-Atlantic showcase will again be held at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex at 6:30 p.m., March 28 when St. Paul’s School (MD) meets Georgetown Prep (MD) and McDonogh School (MD) faces Episcopal Academy (PA), at approximately 8:30 p.m..
McDonogh and St. Paul’s, of the powerful Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, also played in last year’s inaugural event. Georgetown Prep is the two-time defending Washington Interscholastic Athletic Conference champion and Episcopal Academy competes in the mighty Inter-Ac League in Philly.
McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said his team has had a longstanding rivalry with Episcopal Academy and that he and EA coach Andy Hayes have built a strong competitive friendship.
“For our guys to play in a first class venue like Ridley Complex is exciting,” said McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner, whose Eagles were 15-5 last year. “We have played our opponent, Episcopal Academy, a number of times. We’re just excited; it’s just a great game.
“We have a great senior class this year; I think all but two of our seniors have been three- or four-year varsity guys. We do have some holes to fill and we lost some great players, but with the guys next to me (pointing to three of his players) and the other seniors I’m looking forward to a good year.”
Episcopal Academy was only 8-13 last year. The Churchmen were very young and always play a very tough schedule, but Hayes is confident his team will be much-improved this year.
“The Churchmen last year were young and we had a lot of inexperience,” said Hayes. “We came down to MvcDonogh last year and it certainly was a long game.
“But (our) guys are a year older and we have some older guys that are special players so we are really looking forward to playing McDonogh.”
Charlie Horning, the first-year head coach at Georgetown Prep (19-1 last year), said his club is thrilled for the challenge of meeting St. Paul’s, the MIAA runner-up last year.
“We’re trilled to be invited to the PNC Invitational,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to be at a college venue to play such a great opponent like St. Paul’s, a perennial power.
“We graduated a lot of seniors last year and had a really good team. We had a handful of guys that had real good field time, but we have a lot of young faces that will get on the field fro the first time so it will be a challenge, but an opportunity that the kids will be so excited for.”
St. Paul’s coach Rick Brocato said the rivalry with Georgetown Prep is intense.
“It’s a really storied rivalry for us,” he said. “It goes back to 1995 when we started playing against them. We got the best of them early on and the last 11 years it’s been back and fourth.
“This is good for both programs. It’s our home game but I was happy to give it up to be in the PNC event. It’s a first-class event and to be able to play Georgetown Prep is just exciting for our kids. It’s great to continue the tradition at Loyola’s Division I complex.”
Brocato said his team is setting high goals for 2015.
“We feel like we have a really nice group of kids that’s great to be around,” he said. “It’s good to coach kids you like. I am excited about what we have coming back.
“I think we will be able to score goals and we have a pretty good kid in the goal in (senior) AJ Barretto (Army commit). Hopefully, he’ll be the anchor as the defense find itself. It could be a special year, but we have to put it all together.”