First-year Towson coach Shawn Burke liked what he saw of his first Towson-Dulaney boys lacrosse rivalry game experience as his host Generals prevailed, 12-6, on Tuesday night.
"I went to Calvert Hall and this is the first Towson-Dulaney game I've been a part of and it was everything I expected it to be and then some," said Burke, who took over the head coaching position from John Cummings.
Towson's Grant Kuehn, Dyson Adams and Leighton Bechdal scored three goals each and faceoff specialist Mitch Boudreau scooped up a team-high six ground balls to lead the Generals (8-2) to the victory.
Drew Pezzulla (3 goals) and Patrick Unger (2 goals) led the Lions (6-3).
Boudreau did most of his damage on faceoffs in the second half when he won six of the first seven as the Generals outscored the Lions 5-2 after building a 7-4 halftime lead.
"Mitch is pretty good at adjusting on the fly and he just did a great job today and he actually started picking up some ground balls," Burke said. "I thought in the first half he was missing ground balls and I thought he started picking them up some more in the second half."
Rotating Jesse Bourgeios and Tucker Plasse in the first half, the Lions won 8 of 13 faceoffs.
Boudreau made sure things turned around in the second half
"I just had to play my game hoping my technique would work for the best," he said. "I just think you've got to get that ground ball every time, it means everything."
Dulaney struck first just 20 seconds into the game when Justin White scooped up Plasse's faceoff and fed Grier Slaughter.
Slaughter assisted Pezzulla for a 1-0 lead.
Towson knotted the score over a minute later on Bechdal's goal.
Bechdal scored again with 10:09 left in the first quarter for a 2-1 lead, but Unger responded with a pair of goals and the Lions led 3-2 with 7:49 left.
"Their kid, number 35 (Unger) is excellent," Burke said. "He had the first couple goals and we switched Teagan (Hersh) on him and he really did a great job after that."
Hersh, who added three ground balls, was part of a stellar starting defense, along with Drew Evans and Carson Reed, in front of goalie Matt Simmons (8 saves).
"I thought Matt Simmons in goal did a great job for us," Burke said.
Towson scored the equalizer on a goal by Adams with 6:26 left in the opening quarter.
After Dulaney's moving pick violation, Matt Jahries assisted Hickman for a 4-3 lead with 1:34 left.
They would never relinquish the lead.
Jahries was just returning to the lineup.
"We just got Matt Jahries back from injury," Burke said. "They have two excellent middies, 18 (Tommy Hartman) and 22 (Will Schmidt) and I thought Matt did a good job of keeping those guys in check. That was a real key for us."
Untimely turnovers and penalties plagued the Lions.
"Penalties killed us today, every time we thought we could make a push for it, all of the sudden we put ourselves back in the corner with a penalty or a tough unforced turnover," Dulaney coach Kyle Fiat said.
Towson scored the first three goals of the second quarter to extend the lead to 7-3.
Kheun assisted Hickman for the first goal and Kuehn and Adams added unassisted tallies.
Dulaney finally broke the ice on Pezzulla's goal with 3:53 left in the half and the score was 7-4 at intermission.
Less than three minutes into the third period, Dulaney's Hartman found the back of the net and the deficit was two goals.
Boudreau won the next faceoff and that led to a goal by Adams, less than a minute later, and 8-5 lead.
It was the first of straight goals in the period for the Generals with the final tally coming at the buzzer after Bechdal assisted Kuehn following a Dulaney turnover.
Boudreau scooped up all five ground balls on faceoffs in the third period.
"I think at the faceoff X, I think ground balls were probably more prevalent, us not coming up with the ball at the faceoff X," Fiat said. "We battled, but that's heckuva team with really athletic guys and we just didn't come up with finishing plays."
The Generals still had to work hard.
"I know the scoreboard said 12-6, but their kids played incredibly hard," Burke said.
The difference for Burke is that his team is starting to buy into his team-first philosophy.
"This year, an emphasis for us is we are going to try to be more balanced and not rely on any one guy, so we are harder to defend," Burke said. "We are not there yet, but I think we are moving in that direction. Every game different guys have stepped up and done a nice job."
Things don't get any easier as they play at Hereford on April 19 at 5:15 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Lions have two days before their next game at Catonsville at 5:15.