If Hereford is going to return to the state tournament's final four they are going to have to continued making adjustments, like the one they made Wednesday night against visiting Eastern Tech.
After a scoreless tie at halftime, the Bulls (5-1-2) scored two goals in the first six minutes of the second half and doubled that total the rest of the way en route to a 4-2 victory.
Evan Anderson scored three goals in the second half and Nathan Mattola had one.
David Endres and Zach Beil each had two assists.
Eastern Tech proved its resiliency, even when they trailed 2-0 and 3-1.
Ayden Vickery-Ruby scored off Nikk Breslin-Spinnato's assist for the Mavericks' first goal and Breslin-Spinnato drilled one in from 32 yards out for the second.
Eastern Tech coach Peter Glaudemans was especially pleased with the work of his defense in the first half.
Backs Austin Reisig, Nick Glaudemans, Jacob Poetzel and Brandon Funk and goalie Matt Wright held the Bulls scoreless despite being outshot 10-3.
Hereford got several nice passes from junior midfielder Keegan Anderson in the first half, but coach Mike Lacko sensed his team's displeasure.
"They were very, very frustrated because they kept popping the ball to the goalie in the first half," Lacko said. "They are much better than that and they had to get re-focused. Once they got focused and they settled down it started to happen."
Seniors Evan Anderson, Endres and Beil, who are captains along with senior defender Josh Kufera, knew exactly what they had to do.
Endres had beaten the defense to the back line on a few occasions in the first half, but his crosses into the box weren't finished.
"Nobody was making near-post runs and they had so many packed in we couldn't get the ball through," Endres said. "We talked about making a near-post run and right away on my first ball one of my forwards (Mattola) was there and he knocked it in."
Less than four minutes later, Anderson made a near-post run that was more like the ghost to the post.
On Beil's low curling corner kick, Anderson emerged from a pack unmarked and barely touched it home.
"It just touched my toe," Anderson said.
Just over two minutes later, Breslin-Spinnato cranked a shot off the crossbar and the Bulls knew the Mavericks were not going to go away quietly.
Vickery-Ruby, who had barely played all season, but earned 70 minutes against Hereford because of an illness to one of his teammates, scored with 34:08 left to make it 2-1.
Beilll's high chip over the outstretched reach of goalie Wright led to Anderson's second goal and a 3-1 lead, but Breslin-Spinnato countered with 15:02 remaining.
Finally, Endres beat the defense to the end line and fed Anderson to conclude the scoring.
"Number 1 (Endres) is phenomenal," Glaudemans said. "He's a playmaker. He's a fantastic attacking outside midfielder and he did a fantastic job breaking us down early in the second half."
But the coach, whose squad dropped to 3-4, was extremely pleased with the job they did on Endres and the speedy Bulls in the first half.
"I thought we played quite well in the first half," Glaudemans said. "We disrupted one of the faster, more talented teams in the county and they weren't able to create any high-quality chances and that was attributed to our work rate."
But Hereford's Lacko had confidence his captains would find a way to solve the Maverick defense and they did.
"They learn very quickly and the captains usually recognize (problems) and they try and fix it as the game is going on and we touch base at halftime."
They touched base and went out and peppered the back of the net the rest of the game.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun