The Hereford boys lacrosse team brought its usual high standard to another Class 3A-2A state championship game Thursday at UMBC Stadium, challenging Glenelg to try to keep up.
With a near-perfect first half setting a pace that couldn't be matched, the No. 7 Bulls came away with a 13-8 win over the No. 9 Gladiators that earned them more recognition in the state record book.
Hereford (19-1) becomes the first Maryland public school to win five straight championships and is now tied with Dulaney for most state crowns with eight.
In a highly-anticipated matchup featuring two perennial state powers — Glenelg captured their third state title last year competing in Class 2A-1A — the Bulls came out sharp and determined to protect their turf. Five goals from junior attackman Joe Seider highlighted a first half that saw the Bulls take a commanding 8-1 halftime lead.
"It was one of those things where everything we called was working — the kids executed," Hereford coach Brian King said. "We called things and they ran it sharp and they were precise and finished. It's one of the few times when you look down on a piece of paper, how you draw it up and it looked the way it was supposed to look — good timing for that."
The Gladiators (17-3) showed poise in making halftime adjustments to provide the Bulls a scare. They patiently chipped away at the lead, scoring six of the first seven goals in the second half with a goal from Glenn Lucas cutting Hereford's lead to 9-7 with 8:31 to play.
But there's a trust and confidence in place at Hereford that can handle any anxious moments.
"I really do have a great team, and I got really good kids who have great character, who I believe in." King said. "I wouldn't lie if I didn't say time was ticking down a little slower than I liked, but I definitely believe in these kids and they prove it time and again all season."
Jason Ashwood, who finished with four goals and an assist, scored his two biggest in a minute stretch that gave the Bulls a reassuring 11-7 lead with 5:29 to play. The Bulls defense, sturdy when it was most needed, handled the rest. Goalie Brock Turnbaugh, who has split the duties with Conor Cunningham all season, finished with seven saves in the second half.
Seider put the program's extended success in perspective with the team's yearly approach.
"I think it's important to know that we want to win the state championship, but we can't just think it's the only thing on our mind. It's not the state championship on March 1, it's the next scrimmage we have or the next game that we have. It's not always on our mind, but it's in the back of our mind that we want to get there every year," he said.
While the Gladiators, whose 6-5 win over Hereford last year provided the Bulls with a little added motivation, were disappointed with the uncharacteristic first half, they still were able to keep their heads up after the resilient second half. All-Metro senior Nick Wynne closed out his career with three goals and two assists to lead the way.
"It was uncharacteristic, not something we typically do. And I think it was a snowball effect. One thing happened, then the next thing happened and now you're pressing," Glenelg coach Josh Hatmaker said. "At the end of the game, I said 'Look, the first half of this game I wasn't proud of you. At the end of the game I'm proud of you, look what you did. You came back and got within two goals of these guys…"
Class 3A-2A state final
No. 7 Hereford 13, No. 9 Glenelg 8
Goals: H – Seider 5, Ashwood 4, Pritchett, Bryant, Demiris, Adams;
G – N. Wynne 3, Darden 2, M. Wynne 2, Lucas.
Assists: H – Adams 4, Pritchett 2, Reider, Ashwood, Seider.
G – N. Wynne 2, Darden.
Saves: H – Cunningham 5, Turnbaugh 7;
G – Landry 11.
Half: H, 8-1Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun