When Westminster boys lacrosse coach Steve DeFeo was talking about the qualities that has helped keep his Owls undefeated this season, he made sure to mention how much they enjoy playing together.
It certainly showed Thursday night at cross-town rival Winters Mill.
The No. 12 Owls shared the ball on attack and put up a strong collective front on defense — dominating the defending Carroll County champion Falcons in every facet to come away with an 18-5 win.
Senior attackman Ryan Drenner was the offensive catalyst, finishing with six goals and four assists. On defense, Chad Patterson and Scott Gwyn played big in containing the Falcons' attack.
The win puts Westminster 9-0 overall and 4-0 in Carroll County, while Winters Mill falls to 7-4 and 4-1 in league play.
When the teams have met in recent years, the norm has been a tightly-contested game decided in the fourth quarter. That wasn't the case on Thursday with the Owls scoring six straight goals in the first half to build an 8-2 halftime lead that easily held up.
"We prepared hard for them and came out with a lot of intensity to start the game," Drenner said. "We're a group of brothers. I've never been with a better group of kids — this is so great. We're just enjoying every second of this season."
Tied 1-1 late in the first quarter, the Owls got goals from Hunter Davis and CJ Nichols 46 seconds apart in the final two minutes to take a 3-1 lead. They took over in the second quarter with the next four goals — taking advantage of all three man-advantage opportunities. Drenner, who has committed to Towson University, had two goals and three assists in building the 7-1 lead.
"Obviously he's put in a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of commitment to the game," DeFeo said. "He's got an excellent stick and he's deceptive with the ball. He has the fakes where you don't know if he's going to shoot or pass and he draws attention and then he's very unselfish. If you look at his totals, he's always very balanced with his goals and assists."
Jesse Uhlman finished with four goals and an assist, Ryan Hursey scored twice and added three assists, and Nichols had two goals and an assist in the win.
The Falcons got a two-goal, two-assist performance from Chase Cullison.
12 Westminster 18, Winters Mill 5
Goals: W – Drenner 6, Davis 2, Nichols 2, Uhlman 4, Kohr, McDonough, Hursey 2;
WM – Cullison 2, Ackerman, Pixler, Pusateri.
Assists: W – Drenner 4, Nichols, Uhlman, Hursey 3;
WM – Cullison 2.
Saves: W – Aler 5;
WM – Chase 5, Baker 6.
Half: W, 8-2