In the first-ever Howard County vs. Anne Arundel County lacrosse on April 6, Severna Park handed Mt. Hebron its first loss of the season, 6-4.
In the first-ever Howard County vs. Anne Arundel County lacrosse on April 6, Severna Park handed hosts Mt. Hebron its first loss of the season, 6-4.
"I think our guys just didn't quit," said Falcons coach Dave Earl. "We haven't seen zone this year very much and hats off to Mt. Hebron – they threw a really good zone at us. It took us a while to figure it out, but eventually we kept picking away at it and got some good looks."
Severna Park (2-2) won the face-off battle, 7-5, and controlled the midfield throughout the contest. The Vikings' zone limited their opportunities to possess the ball on offense, and once the Falcons overloaded one side and figured out how to attack the defense they started to find the back of the net.
"We thought for this matchup zone was the best defense to limit their athleticism," said Mt. Hebron coach Mike McCarthy. "That's the strength of our team – defense and goalie – and we've been pretty efficient on offense so we thought while we may not get as many possessions on offense, we could score a few goals. ... We didn't execute on offense and in the clearing game we had too many turnovers. It was a good effort, but they're a good team. They're not going to lose too many more games."
Early on Mt. Hebron (4-1) controlled the ball and took advantage of the game's first penalty. Kyle Sutton scored on an assist from Jake Edmonson on the extra man offense to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead 4 minutes, 32 second in, but neither team finished another shot for more than 19 minutes of action.
It wasn't because of a lack of attempts, however. Severna Park ripped six shots in the first quarter and three of those ricocheted off the pipe behind Mt. Hebron goalie Casey DuBois.
"Early, I think we kept them in the game. We didn't finish," Earl said. "We had a lot of shots and hit a few pipes. You never want to make an excuse but they did a great job of sticking with us and playing physical and hats off to them. They're a very good team."
The Falcons eventually tied the game at 1-1 with 6.3 seconds before half, as Josh Coffman ripped a shot by DuBois on the 14th shot of the half. McCarthy pointed to that goal as the first sign of momentum switching because the goal was the result of a turnover.
The game wasn't tied for long. On the extra man offense, Bryce Brookhart netted a shot past Severna Park goalie Barret Casto 32 seconds into the third quarter on a feed from Scott Mackrell, and Mt. Hebron looked to have its offense flowing as it gained more possessions.
The Falcons, though, played crippling defense and took control of the game late in the third. Logan Spilker scored on an assist from Coffman with 53.8 seconds left in the quarter to tie the game, 2-2, and after the Vikings turned the ball over Spilker struck again with just 2.9 seconds left to give his team a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Mt. Hebron boys lacrosse coach Mike McCarthy talks about his team's overall expectations and more entering the 2016 spring season. (Tim Schwartz/Howard County Times video)
"I thought we were in control for about three quarters of the game," McCarthy said. "They've got good players and started to put it together against our zone. They started to finish."
The momentum carried over the fourth, as Ethan Carr scored with 9:14 remaining to give Severna Park a 4-2 lead. Mackrell answered less than two minutes later to cut the deficit back to one, but Chase Cope's goal with 5:32 left made it a two-goal edge and deflated the Vikings.
Any chance of a Mt. Hebron comeback stalled as it turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions with four and three minutes to go, and Coffman put the game away with an empty-netter with 1:47 to go.
"There's no excuse. Kids weren't moving on the clear and they turned the ball over," McCarthy said. "We had a break away and we underthrow it and their midfielder picks it off. That's normally a fast break for us."
"(Controlling the midfield is) a focus for us. We work on it every day in practice over and over and over again," Earl said. "Running to our spots and teaching the guys the looks and it's starting to click. ... I think we did a really nice job riding and I think our attack does a really nice job taking away their (short poles) and making the long poles clear the ball. When that happens that can be tough."
The Vikings did their best to make a game of it late. DuBois noticed Casto out of the cage late and launched a shot from 60 yards into the back of the net to cut the deficit to 6-4, but Severna Park held them off to win the first game against a Howard County school in the new scheduling format.
"I thought it was really neat," Earl said. "The teams we've faced have been a little more finesse, lots of fancy stick work and that sort of thing, whereas Mt. Hebron was like, 'Well, I'm going to take you mono-e-mono.' I was proud of our kids that we hung with them and Mt. Hebron should be proud of the way they competed today."
Severna Park (2-2) 6, Mt. Hebron (1-0 county, 4-1 overall) 4