For proof of what kind of difference a year can make, take a look at the St. Vincent Pallotti boys lacrosse team.
Last year, the Panthers struggled to a 2-13 record.
Fast forward to a drastically different scene at Johns Hopkins University, where Pallotti defeated Beth Tfiloh, 13-10, Friday afternoon for the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference championship at Homewood Field.
Pallotti finished a perfect 10-0 in league play to capture its first lacrosse title in 10 years.
“The progress we made is great, but the big thing is we are on the right path again,” Pallotti coach Joe Stanilaus said. “Ten years between championship is kind of too long, so it’s good to be back on the right track.”
Pallotti junior attackman Hunter Smith (5 goals, 2 assists) was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“He is so cool and collected,” Stanilaus said. “Nothing bothers him. He is a leader and he knows how to finish.”
Pallotti junior attackman Lee Shumaker totaled four goals and teammates Zack Burns and Justin Wilson had two apiece
Junior attackman Mitchell Cardin led Beth Tfiloh with four goals and Jacob Welfeld added two.
Pallotti received quite a wake-up call from the Warriors in the second half.
The Panthers led 7-2 in the middle of the third quarter before Beth Tfiloh came alive with an explosive 5-0 run.
Ryan Ross started the run late in the third quarter with an unassisted goal and Cardin finished it early in the fourth quarter when he beat goalie Andrew Jumbelick on a low shot to make it 7-7.
“That what we always do,” said Beth Tfiloh coach Bob Bieschke, whose team lost in the final for the third straight season. “Come from behind.”
But Pallotti broke a nearly 9-minute scoring drought, when Shumaker’s goal got the Panthers rolling.
His score put the Panthers ahead for good with 9:17 remaining in the final quarter to start a five-goal flurry.
The Panthers also dominated in the first half.
After the Warriors’ Scott Tepper opening the scoring by beating goalie Andrew Jumbelick with a shot between the legs less than three minutes into play, the Panthers responded with three straight goals. Shumaker had two during that stretch.
Pallotti took advantage of a Beth Tfiloh team in the second quarter that gave too much ground and was caught out of position. The result? They boosted the lead to 5-1 in the first two minutes.
Wilson finished Pallotti’s first-half scoring. Tepper saved Wilson’s shot, but lost possession and the ball rolled into the goal to make it 6-1 — the halftime score.
Beth Tfiloh picked up its game early in the third quarter.
Danny Monroe scored on a feed from Tepper only 51 seconds into play to cut the lead to 7-2. About two minutes later, Welfeld hit a post.