Hereford senior defenders Caitlin Abbott, left, and Emily May

Hereford senior defenders Caitlin Abbott, left, and Emily May will be looking to protect the goal this season for coach Anne Ensor and the Bulls. (Staff photo by Brian Krista / March 7, 2013)

Conor Cunningham wants to make sure he and his teammates finish the upcoming season the same way the previous five Hereford High School boys lacrosse teams have exited their recent campaigns.

On top.

Yes, the Bulls are prepae very least, earn the opportunity to do just that when the Class 3A-2A playoffs begin in May.

No team in Baltimore County is likely to intervene, considering Hereford has prevailed in 75 of its last 80 encounters with county rivals. The Bulls are 43-0 against county opponents since suffering a 10-7 setback to Towson High on March 27, 2009.

In their five championship seasons, Hereford's overall record is an astounding 91-6.

That domination means the Bulls will almost certainly have a less than daunting path to the state final four, a tournament in which they are riding a 10-game winning streak.

"Nobody wants to be the ones that don't get it done," said Cunningham, a senior goalie from Uppercoe. "It's something that we need to do."

With all of the talent coach Brian King has at his disposal, it's little wonder his team believes another state banner is waiting to be plucked.

For one thing, the Bulls have Cunningham to play in the goal, although junior Brock Turnbaugh gives them quality depth other teams could only dream about having.

Both are Division I-caliber stoppers headed to Hofstra University (Cunningham) and Johns Hopkins University (Turnbaugh), respectively.

Senior veteran close defensemen Josh Rider (Dickinson College), Eli Hess and Kemp Ensor will patrol in front of the crease while junior longstick Joe Schaeffer and shortsticks Andrew Fisher, a senior, and junior Connor Williams man the defensive midfield.

The first midfield line boasts Jack Adams (Towson University), Adam Ceribelli (Towson) and Jon Bauer. The second group features Hugh Huppman and A.J. Endres and sophomore Ben Bittner.

The attack is potent with seniors Joe Seider (Towson) and Ryan Jones (Salisbury University) and junior Jason Ashwood (High Point University).

"A lot of these guys have been playing together since they were little kids," King said. "And that's very important."

Another major factor in the Bulls' favor is that, unlike county foes Towson and Dulaney, they don't lose many potential players to private schools.

"We keep our guys home," King said.

And King will need every one of his players to be at their best for a rigorous non-league slate of games against teams from the powerful Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, widely regarded as the best prep boys lacrosse league in the nation.

The Bulls split a pair battles with A Conference members last season, losing to Gilman, 10-3, and edging St. Paul's in overtime, 11-10.

This year, they are at St. Paul's (March 22) before hosting Gilman (March 27) and Loyola Blakefield (April 2).

"We didn't schedule these games to lose," King said. "We respect them, but we can play, too."

Cunningham said that Hereford "won't change anything" when it plays those games.