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Boys Lacrosse: Liberty blasts Boonsboro for another 'banner'

Before the season, the Liberty boys lacrosse senior leaders settled on three ambitious goals.

Win the county championship. Win the region title. Win the first state championship in school history.

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Two down. One to go.

Mark Conway, Michael Smith and Jared Cirulli each had four goals in Liberty's 20-5 win over Boonsboro in the Class 2A-1A West Region final.

The Lions wrapped up back-to-back region championships for the second time in school history. Liberty won three straight from 2003-05.

Liberty (18-0) will face Southern of Anne Arundel County at Northeast-Anne Arundel on Friday or Saturday at a time to be determined.

This is a familiar spot for Liberty. Southern-AA (11-5) eliminated the Lions 13-8 in the state semifinals last year. After winning the region championship, the Lions players talked about how dangerous their next opponent is, how they will have to be nearly perfect in every facet.

Still, their last team goal is in front of them.

"Before the season, we talked about getting three banners," Liberty junior Mark Conway said. "One for counties. One for the region. And one for states."

The Lions had no trouble with Boonsboro (12-2), the best team Washington County lacrosse had to offer this year. Conway, Cirulli and Noah Rohrer goals pushed Liberty to a 3-0 lead in the first four minutes.

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The Lions never trailed.

Conway had four assists. Jack Boyer added two goals. Cirulli had three assists, content to absorb double teams and calmly flip passes at wide open teammates cutting toward the net.

Boonsboro's Keegan Bowles had five goals in a victory over Catoctin in the sectional final. He had just one goal against the Lions.

With a comfortable double-digit advantage throughout the second half, the Lions played their reserves and rested their starters.

After the game, the Lions had a subdued celebration. A team photo was taken with the region championship plaque. Players walked over to the gate in front of the bleachers and received hugs from friends and family.

The senior class, led by Cirulli, Jack Boyer and Nick Griffin, have turned this program into a region power once again. The seniors gathered for a class photo at midfield.

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"They turned the program around," said Conway, a junior.

Liberty coach Mike Flemming said he's seen dramatic improvement.

"We feel confident from our first player to our last that they have all progressed," he said.

Flemming mentioned the team's consistency and ability to take care of the little things necessary for victory, especially defensively, as signs of improvement.

"There's dedication from this group," he said. "The time they put in before the season shows now."

It's already been a tremendous year for the Lions. Liberty won its first county championship since 2000. This was just the fifth region title in school history.

"I feel like every time we advance, we gain a little more wisdom," Cirulli said.

During the postgame celebration, Griffin, Liberty's stalwart long-pole defender, clutched the region title trophy in his hands.

"One more piece of hardware left, boys," he said.

Goals: B-Jack Krasny 2, Keegan Bowles, Keegan Long, Thomas Schnackenberg; L-Mark Conway 4, Jared Cirulli 4, Michael Smith 4, Jack Boyer 2, Paul Fiscella, Noah Rohrer, Kyle Dale, Casey Beck, Brandon Irons, Ronnie Shaney.

Assists: B-Keegan Long 2, Collin Mannix; L-Conway 4, Cirulli 3, Smith, Irons, Kevin Maggio.

Saves: B-4 (Riley Simmons); L-9 (Evan McCarthy 7, Zach Morris 2)

Halftime: Liberty, 14-3.

410-857-7896

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