Severn Claims Varsity Title as Annapolis Indoor Lacrosse League Wraps Up Ninth Season
ANNAPOLIS — The Annapolis Indoor Lacrosse League concluded its ninth season this past weekend at the Annapolis Area Christian School’s Kilby Athletic Center Fieldhouse, with Severn winning the varsity championship and St. Mary’s celebrating the junior varsity title.
After taking down the DeMatha 18-13 in the first varsity semifinal Saturday night, Severn edged Calverton in a 13-12 thriller played in front of a passionate crowd. Calverton had been an overtime winner itself just a game earlier, getting past Archbishop Spalding 13-12 in the second semifinal of the night.
With the win, Severn completed the first recorded undefeated season in the nine-year history of the AILL, finishing at 11-0. Calverton finished 8-3. DeMatha III and Archbishop Spalding – both teams that reached Saturday’s semifinals – completed the season at 7-3.
In the Junior Varsity bracket, St. Mary’s outlasted Team Smartlink 11-9 to claim the championship and finish up the season with an 11-0 undefeated record. Smartlink closed out the season at 10-1.
The league, featuring rosters decked with players heading to the likes of Maryland, Navy and the Ivy League schools, scheduled games almost every Saturday for ten weekends beginning in early December. Games ran from the morning into the evening, a veritable marathon of indoor lacrosse action each weekend.
“This was without question the most exciting year of the Annapolis Indoor Lacrosse League and it finished with an incredible day of lacrosse and a number of unforgettable games,” said Spencer Ford, Director of 3d Mid-Atlantic and the league’s administrator. “And on top of it all, this league gives players in the area an incredible opportunity to compete through the winter months not just to stay fresh, but really develop as players.”
The AILL’s seven-on-seven format – featuring box-style goaltending and 4-foot-by-4-foot goals – was born nine years ago when current 3d San Diego director Zack Burke, a former All-American defender at UMBC, teamed up with Ford, a former All-American at Towson, to give players in the Baltimore-D.C.-Annapolis region a way to improve their skills and get reps in the offseason.
Each team fields six runners and two players stay on sides at all times, so each end’s action simulates box lacrosse. Team’s run offenses built around the two-man game, pick-and-rolls, physical cuts to the cage and deceptive shooting and passing.
“What it creates is a rapid-fire, relentless style of hybrid play that creates more touches for the players, more movement, more running and a faster avenue to becoming a better player. What we saw here this weekend was a lot of the best area players coming out and absolutely battling with pride for their respective program. It was a great full day of lacrosse and the skill level was really impressive.”
Brian Phipps, the head coach at Archbishop Spalding and a current Major League Lacrosse star goaltender, pointed out that the competitive, fast-paced environment of the AILL.
“It's a great atmosphere for kids to compete at a high level while focusing on and improving skills that will help benefit them in their upcoming spring season,” Phipps said.
Calverton head coach Bryan Frates said his program has been competing in the AILL for several years.
“The reason we choose to stick with 3d’s AILL is because it promotes a safe and fun environment while providing top-level competition against some of the best teams in Maryland,” Frates said.
“This past season we played in four overtime games including the quarterfinals and the semifinals. We finished the season in second place with a one-goal loss to Severn in an incredible battle, which was a great way to head into our extremely difficult spring schedule. We cannot thank the AILL enough for putting on such a great winter league and we are excited to join again for the 2017-18 season.”
The AILL’s format inspired 3d Lacrosse to bring the concept to other regions of the country, like Connecticut-based 3d Tri-State and Boston-based 3d New England, formally calling the SEVENS series.
“While we don’t use the SEVENS name, that’s what the AILL is, and it’s helped our company spawn a series of tournaments with the same playing format all over the country,” Ford said.
“We’re looking forward to taking the AILL to the next level for its tenth anniversary next season. We want to get even more of the area’s best into the league to help keep making a positive impact on lacrosse in the Mid-Atlantic. With partners like STX, Nike and Lax.com, we think we can keep making it more enjoyable for the players.”
For more information on the AILL and 3d Mid-Atlantic's other offerings, visit 3dLacrosse.com.