The highlight of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship for the Glenelg Country School boys lacrosse team came eight seconds into the game.
The Dragons won the opening face off on Friday night, and senior Calder VanderHeuvel ran straight through Archbishop Curley’s defense for a goal. The next 47 minutes, 52 seconds of the contest, however, was full of Curley highlights, as the Friars defeated the Dragons, 12-3, for their first title since 2008.
“This is outstanding,” said Curley head coach Chris Ogle. “It’s been 11 years. We knew we’d be strong defensively this year, but we had some parts to replace on offense. The guys worked all year long together to get better.”
The Friars allowed two goals early in the contest, but a physical defense and goalie Sean Roesener held the Dragons scoreless over the final 35 minutes of play.
“We ask our guys to win their individual matchups, and today they did,” Ogle said. “Sean was outstanding. He provides a calming presence for us in the goal. He makes the saves we ask him to make, and he’ll sprinkle in some of the ones he shouldn’t make.”
Roesener, a junior, tallied 10 saves. He said the shutdown defense over the final three periods was “all the defense.”
“I’ve got to give all the credit to my defense,” Roesener said. “They’re making their players take bad shots and making the saves easier for me.”
Glenelg Country head coach Kevin Boland said the game revealed the experience difference between the two squads. Curley sports a roster with 25 upperclassmen, while Glenelg Country has more underclassmen (15) than upperclassmen (13).
“I have to give my hats off to Curley,” Boland said. “They’re just a tough lacrosse team. They’ve got great athletes. They play a hard-nosed style. I think our age showed a little bit today.”
Ogle said the intangibles his players have due to their experience led them to victory.
“There’s a lot of things they’ve already seen because of their experience,” Ogle said. “They’re not caught off guard most of the time, and they can play through tough situations.”
After VanderHeuvel’s goal to start the game at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium, the Friars (16-4) quickly took a 2-1 lead with goals from Lee Rock and Nate Rollins before the end of the first minute.
Glenelg Country’s Rocco Buscher tied the game a few minutes later, which would be the Dragons’ last time not trailing in the contest.
The Friars then scored three straight goals, from Josh Knapp, Gage Coolahan and Scott Giampa. The Dragons’ final goal of the game came from junior Matt Palmisano at the start of the second period.
Boland said his team didn’t shoot as well as it did when the Dragons (14-5) defeated Curley, 7-6, two weeks ago. That game was the second contest in the regular season between the two teams, as Curley defeated GCS, 11-7, in early April.
“I think we shot the ball poorly,” Boland said. “Part of that is because of them and how physical they are. They get in your hands well, and they make it hard to get good shots.”
Rollins scored another goal in the second period and a third goal in the second half. He led all scorers with three goals and an assist. Ogle said the junior is a “do-it-all” midfielder.
“Nate is the sparkplug for us,” Ogle said. “His ability to face off, play offense and play defense is huge. The energy he brings to the field really gets us started.”
The remaining goals for the Friars were scored by Rock, Coolahan, Nick Ramage, Scott Kahl and Paul Lewis. Knapp added two assists, while Rock, Kahl and Andrew Jackson each had one.
Boland said Glenelg Country’s youth makes the future of the program “exciting.”
“It’s a really great group of kids,” Boland said. “I coach good kids. This isn’t rocket science. I have good kids who play hard until the end, and that’s all I can ask for.”
He also said the skill of the underclassmen wouldn’t have been as valuable this season without the upperclassmen.
“When you talk about all the underclassmen, you forget that there’s a group of upperclassmen that has brought them along and made sure they’ve bought into what they’re doing,” Boland said. “You don’t have good underclassmen without good upperclassmen.”
Meanwhile, Curley’s 25 upperclassmen, including Roesener, ended the season as MIAA B Conference champions.
“This is the best moment of my life,” Roesener said, “and I’m going to say it’s probably the best moment for everybody else’s on the team, too.”
Archbishop Curley (16-4) — 12 Glenelg Country School (14-5) — 3
MIAA B Conference championship
Goals: AC — Nate Rollins 3, Lee Rock 2, Gage Coolahan 2, Josh Knapp, Scott Giampa, Nick Ramage, Scott Kahl, Paul Lewis; GCS — Calder VandenHeuvel, Rocco Buscher, Matt Palmisano
Assists: AC — Knapp 2, Kahl, Rollins, Rock, Andrew Jackson
Saves: AC — Sean Roesener 10, Christian Thomas 1; GCS — Brayden Franey 12
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Halftime: 8-3, Curley