The Hereford lacrosse team walked into its Baltimore County 2A-1A League game yesterday expecting to do battle with a stingy Loch Raven defense.
Instead, the Bulls delivered a healthy dose of their own.
The defense held host Loch Raven to two first-half goals, and Greg Breeback and Matt Swift supplied more than enough offense in a 15-7 Hereford win.
"Our defense really came through for us," said Swift. "They're the ones who won it for us."
Goalie Anthony Radecki led the way with nine saves, including several on tough chances early in the game. The Raiders didn't score back-to-back goals until the opening minutes of the second half, after Hereford (6-2 overall, 5-0 in the league) had taken command.
It was in stark contrast to Radecki's previous start against Owings Mills, when the junior allowed five goals in the second quarter against the inexperienced Golden Eagles.
"He was so down -- he couldn't stop anything," said Hereford coach Dennis Sirman. "Today, though, he really came up big in the first quarter. If he doesn't, it's a different ball game."
Though the Raiders (3-2, 3-1) had a number of good scoring chances early in the game, they converted just once on a goal by Mike Munesses. Despite playing well, offensively, they trailed 3-1 after the first quarter.
"That seems to be our problem," said Raiders coach Chuck Weitz. "We come up short on a lot of good scoring opportunities. When you can't take advantage of your good chances early in the game, it really takes away the momentum."
Hereford's offense, however, was in top form.
Breeback led the attack with six goals and three assists, and Swift -- a midfielder -- added five goals and three assists.
The two hooked up on goals four times, and accounted for six of the Bulls' final seven goals.
"It was mostly [isolations] behind and out front," said Breeback. "We've been working hard on our offense. For the last few games, we've really played great."
Hereford has won four straight, outscoring opponents 87-24. Yesterday, they fired 36 shots on goal, keeping Loch Raven keeper Andy King busy.
"This was really the first good team we've beaten," said Sirman.
"That really means something."