The good news for St. Mary's Ryken High School lacrosse coach John Sothoron is that his three attackmen -- Pat Christiansen, Lee Moreland and Greg Weigel -- had a surprisingly successful spring, amassing 111 goals, 87 assists and 198 total points during the team's 13-4 season. The better news: They all will be back in 2000.
Christiansen, a sophomore, led the team offensively with a single-season school-record 66 goals and 101 total points. He posted those numbers despite missing the final two games of the Christ Church Tournament with dehydration. Weigel, a freshman, totaled 17 goals and a school-record 43 assists. Moreland, a junior, finished with 28 goals and nine assists.
"I thought the kids did amazingly well this year," said Sothoron, who has established the Knights as one of the premier teams in the Washington area over the past 10 years.
"We had an entire new attack. ... Not one of those guys even started on varsity last year. Two were on JV and the other was in a youth league. And they came in and scored 198 points," Sothoron added. "Our defense played outstanding all year, but that was more expected. The attack just blew us away."
Leading the defense was junior Evan Santini (68 take-aways), one of two honorable-mention All-Met selections for Ryken this year. The other, senior Alex DeManns, had 40 goals and 13 assists from the midfield.
The Knights were not ranked in The Washington Post's most recent Top 10 polls, but they were ranked No. 10 in the poll following a 20-2 rout of Randolph Macon on May 6. That game was one of many big wins for Ryken this season, including a 7-6 win over Bishop O'Connell at the Christ Church Tournament in mid-April and a 13-12 overtime win over Good Counsel on April 29.
"Winning is expected here," said senior Pat Haley, who will play next year at Catonsville Community College in hopes of transferring to Towson University the following year. "Every year we're supposed to make [The Washington Post's] Top 20. Without playoffs, that's all we have to shoot for. We want to be known."
Thanks to Sothoron, they are. The former all-American goalie for Towson started the program at Ryken in 1989 and has never had a losing season with the Knights. He has had 12 players named to the All-Met team over the years and 29 players go on to play collegiately -- not including the five graduating seniors this year, all of whom plan on continuing their careers. But there has always been something missing: a conference rivalry. Next season, that too will change.
Calvert and St. Mary's counties will begin playing varsity lacrosse in 2000, and Sothoron said he will be more than happy to make adjustments to his very challenging independent schedule to include Southern Maryland Athletic Conference teams.
Ryken, which will not be allowed to play in Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association regional or state tournaments even if lacrosse becomes an official SMAC sport, is looking to participate in postseason play with other private schools, maybe as early as next year.
Still, the players -- and Sothoron -- say nothing will compare to some old-fashioned rivalry.
"I remember my freshman year playing on JV, and we would play Leonardtown," Santini said. "There would be a lot of talking out there, a lot of competitive spirit. It'll be great to bring that to the varsity level."
St. Mary's Ryken (13-4)
1999 Schedule, Results
March 19 at Bishop Ireton 13-1
23 vs. South River 10-4
26 at Spalding 12-8
30 vs. Pallotti 18-6
April 3 Northeast Tournament
River Hill 5-6
7 vs. Georgetown Prep 5-15
9 vs. Woodbridge 18-3
15 at Bullis 15-7
17-18 Christ Church Tournament
Bishop O'Connell 7-6
Hampton Roads 6-5
Christ Church 5-6
23 vs. St. Albans 4-7
26 vs. Linganore 19-2
29 at Good Counsel 13-12
May 6 vs. Randolph Macon 20-2
14 vs. Sidwell Friends 19-6
Knights' 1999 Seniors
Since 1990, 29 St. Mary's Ryken graduates have continued their lacrosse careers on the collegiate level. Each of this year's five graduates has plans to do the same.
Catonsville Community College
Haley, one of two Knights selected to play in the Maryland State all-star game yesterday at Loyola College, finished the season with 36 points. He even-tually wants to transfer to Towson.
An honorable mention All-Met selection, DeManns also was selected to play in the Maryland State all-star game yesterday at Loyola College. He finished third on the team with 53 total points.
University of Massachusetts
Leary scored nine points for St. Mary's Ryken and hopes to make the Minuteman squad as a walk-on. Leary specializes in faceoffs and defensive play.
Washington & Lee
Weigel, who scored eight points last season and led the team with 61 ground balls, will play for a Division III power.
Tidball, one of the team's top defensemen, netted his first and only career goal this season.
Knights' 1999 Points Leaders
Name Year Pos. Goals Assists Total Points
Pat Christiansen Soph. Attack 66* 35 101*
Greg Weigel Fr. Attack 17 43* 60
Alex DeManns Sr. Midfield 40 13 53
Lee Moreland Jr. Attack 28 9 37
Pat Haley Sr. Midfield 24 12 36
* Denotes single-season school record.
CAPTION: St. Mary's Ryken freshman Greg Weigel, right, shown maneuvering past Sidwell's Matt Schneider, had a school-record 43 assists for the Knights.