Trailing by three goals late in the fourth quarter, there was never a second of doubt for the Glenelg boys lacrosse team in Friday's Class 3A-2A state semifinals game against Kent Island at Annapolis High School.
Well, maybe there was a moment or two when it looked like the No. 11 Gladiators' season would come to an end.
Then, the experience of reaching the state semifinal in each of the last seven seasons kicked in. Led by junior Nick Forrest, Glenelg scored four goals in the final 2 minutes, 51 seconds to secure a 10-9 victory.
"That's a testament to the character of our kids and our community," Glenelg coach Josh Hatmaker said. "We have hard-working kids that come from hard-working families. It was a team effort and that's the way we conduct ourselves."
Back-to-back goals by Patrick Garvey gave Kent Island a 9-6 lead with 3:30 left in regulation.
That's when Towson-bound faceoff specialist Anthony Pagnotta turned it on. After breaking his stick, Pagnotta found that injured teammate Zach Bailey had a similar one he could use. Pagnotta went on to roll, winning three of the final four faceoffs to help Glenelg gain extra possessions.
A man-up goal by Kevin Coppinger got the Gladiators to within 9-7. Pagnotta won the ensuing faceoff and Christian Salandra raced to the cage for the score. After releasing the shot, he took a late hit to give Glenelg another extra-man opportunity.
Forrest made good on an assist from Kevin Wynne with 1:44 left to tie the score at 9. Kent Island won the next faceoff but turned it over. Drew Dziwulski scooped the ground ball and was pushed in the back, giving the Gladiators possession.
With 22 seconds to play, Forrest dodged from behind the cage and let the shot fly, putting Glenelg ahead for the first time since it was 1-0 early in the first quarter. Pagnotta's faceoff win sealed the game.
"I had a step on my guy and no one picked me up," Forrest said. "I saw the opening and shot bottom-left. It went through and I was just jumping for joy."
The Gladiators advance to the state title game for the fourth straight season and will play Hereford in next week's 3A-2A state final at UMBC. Hereford is the five-time defending champion and defeated Glenelg in the final last year.
No. 5 Hereford 15, Century 4: Jason Ashwood scored four goals and Jack Adams had a goal and four assists as the Bulls (18-2) won their Class 3A-2A state semifinal Friday night at Franklin.
The Knights (11-8) got two goals and an assist from Jack Rogness, while Dylan Lopez added two goals in their first appearance in the state semifinals. Goalie Alex Gipe had 11 saves.
Hereford has not allowed an opponent to score more than eight goals in a game this season and has held opponents to 3.47 goals per game. The Bulls' average margin of victory going into Friday night's game was 12.2 goals.
Hereford is aiming for a record ninth state title, which would break a tie with Dulaney.
Fallston 22, Northwestern 5: Class 2A-1A defending state boys lacrosse champion Fallston put itself in position Friday to repeat with a 22-5 state semifinal win over Northwestern on Friday at Bel Air.
The Cougars will face the winner between Saturday's Patterson Mill-Oakdale match up. The championship game will be Tuesday or Wednesday at UMBC.
For Fallston, which also beat Northwestern in last year's state semifinal (23-3), a slow start quickly got the Cougars on track.
Following an opening Fallston failed shot, Northwestern senior Kier Johnson raced the length of the field and scored unassisted just 19 seconds into the game.
Fallston quickly recovered and 17 consecutive goals later, the Cougars were ahead at the half, 17-1.
Fallston senior Kyle D'Onofrio highlighted the victory, scoring four goals and becoming the Cougars' all-time single-season leading scorer with 66 goals.
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Katherine Dunn and Randy McRoberts contributed to this article.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun