Defense took center stage in the Baltimore County boys lacrosse championship game Saturday when No. 11 Hereford held Dulaney scoreless in the second half while the Bulls scored just enough to emerge with a 4-2 victory at Franklin High.
Hereford (12-3) jumped on top with two first-quarter goals and Dulaney (11-3) answered with a pair of tallies in the second quarter.
Jason Ashwood and Ben Bittner scored for the Bulls and Cameron Carter and Keegan Colegrove bent the twine for the Lions.
Colegrove’s score with 3:10 left in the half came after Paul Junkin forced a turnover that led to a fastbreak and assist from Kyle Thibeault.
As the second half began, so did a downpour that lasted midway through the third quarter.
During that time, Hereford took a lead it would not relinquish when Matt Lewis made a nifty feed to Neil Lavietes on a fast break with 9:28 remaining.
The rest of the game belonged to the defenses that were anchored by Hereford goalie Brock Turnbaugh and Dulaney keeper Burke McManus who each finished with eight saves.
“He’s a very good goalie,” Dulaney coach Kyle Fiat said of Turnbaugh.
Hereford’s relentless defense of Joe Patti, Coby Nettleton, Matt Butz and Matt Groff were tested by a Lion attack that kept the pressure on, thanks to strong work in the faceoff circle by Dominic Dachille, who battled Hereford’s Connor Williams tough all afternoon.
“They have a really good goalie and they are good on defense and they have a good faceoff guy and today we just put the ball in a couple more times than they did,” Hereford coach Brian King said.
Dulaney’s defense was led by Ben Stevens, Matt Eibl, Junkin and Dachille and they hustled all over the field to keep the Lions in the game.
“One thing about the guys at Dulaney, they work hard on the field and they work hard off the field,” Fiat said. “It’s never a lack of effort.”
The Bulls got a clutch defensive play by Butz in the third quarter while clinging to the 3-2 lead. He forced a turnover and won a ground ball to prevent a scoring opportunity.
In the fourth quarter, Ashwood and Williams forced turnovers to keep the Lion attack dormant.
Dulaney had a minute extra-man opportunity with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter, but the fearsome fivesome of Nettleton, Williams, Groff, Patti and Mike Mozelack held them without a shot.
Finally, with 1:22 remaining in regulation, Ashwood assisted Lewis to seal the victory for the Bulls.
Although the Lions have lost to the Bulls twice, they have certainly earned King and Turnbaugh’s respect.
“Playing against Dulaney, they are a big rival, you always have to be on your toes,” Turnbaugh said. “It’s always been close with them and our defense always has to bring their A-game."
“It’s real good to get a good tough game against a good opponent like Dulaney heading into the playoffs,” King said.
Goals: Ashwood, Bittner, Lavietes, Lewis
Assists: Ashwood, Lewis
Goals: Carter, Colegrove