Fallston won its third straight boys lacrosse state championship Tuesday, cruising past North Carroll, 17-7, in the Class 2A-1A title game at UMBC Stadium.
The No. 15 Cougars were 16 of 23 on faceoffs and made that dominant performance matter by finishing on scoring opportunities.
"I just can't tell you how proud I am of these guys," Fallston coach Matt Parks said. "The way they played today was the best game of the season, so they definitely saved the best for last."
North Carroll's career scoring leader, Kyle Fiedler, gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with his only goal just two minutes into the game, but the Cougars scored four unanswered to close the quarter and rolled from there.
Fallston had runs of five, four and six goals that allowed the Cougars (15-4) to open up a double-digit lead less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
"This is a big accomplishment to be here for North Carroll," Panthers head coach Tim Stecher said. "They came out ready to play, we did too, but at the end of the day, came up a little short."
Fallston senior Wesley Rumple scored four goals and assisted on three others, including the Cougars' first goal. Nick Esser scored it, starting the Cougars onslaught.
Freshman Dylan Wolf scored two of his three goals to close the first quarter and Rumple scored his first to begin second quarter play. The lead was 5-1.
Luke Gonzalez — who scored three goals to lead the Panthers — scored twice, nearly five minutes apart, to keep the game close at 5-3 with 5:01 left in the half.
Fallston, though, scored three goals in the final 1:16 to open up their largest first half lead. Andy Stump scored to snap North Carroll's two-goal run after an assist from Brenden Nolan. Nolan then scored on transition, assisted by Rumple, and Rumple then finished off the first half scoring with a low shot past Panthers goalkeeper Alex Bredenburg.
Bredenburg's play kept the game respectable, as his 18 saves foiled several Fallston chances.
Leading 8-3 at halftime, the Cougars opened the second half with a faceoff win and possession. The Cougars moved the ball for nearly three minutes before freshman Ben Claffee scored his only goal. Claffee picked up a loose ball and fired a hard, high shot past Bredenburg.
Gonzalez added his third goal for the Panthers (16-3) just 12 seconds later but it was all Fallston from that point on. The Cougars scored four times in the final 3:51 of the third quarter and then added two more in the first 45 seconds of the fourth quarter to go ahead, 15-4, their largest lead of the game.
North Carroll made it a little tighter, scoring three consecutive goals, before Fallston closed out the game with two more goals. Fallston also had multiple goals from Steven Ernst, Garrett Krug, and Nolan.
Fallston goalie Liam Wilcox finished with seven saves.
"It's not a great way to go out, but it was a great senior season," North Carroll's Fiedler said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun