North County's lacrosse team played Perry Hall as tough as any team in the first and fourth quarters of yesterday's Class 3A-4A state semifinal at UMBC.
It was the apparent mismatch in the two quarters in between that enabled the Gators to cruise to an 11-8 victory over the Knights of Anne Arundel County.
Perry Hall (15-0) will play Broadneck, which advanced by defeating Centennial, 15-3, in the state final at 6 p.m. Wednesday at UMBC Stadium.
"Our defense and goalie play is what did it for us today," said Perry Hall coach Bill Dunkerton. "The defense hustled all over the field and we faced off well and controlled the ball."
PD Junior attackman Nick Cowan, who led all scorers with four goals
and an assist, scored the Gators' first goal on a feed from Mike Faith, but North County answered with goals by Shawn Moyer and Mark Collins to take a 2-1 lead with 5:22 left in the first quarter.
Perry Hall tied the game in the closing minutes of the first quarter on a goal by midfielder Mike Meika and then regained the lead 53 seconds into the second quarter when junior attackman Jeff Taylor finished the second of four assists by junior Mike Faith.
The Knights (15-2) tied the score again on an unassisted goal by Lauren Reich and took a 4-3 lead with 7:00 left in the half when Reich found the net on a feed from attackman Ian Stevenson.
The Knights then went 23:02 before scoring again.
Meanwhile, Perry Hall's attack continued to enjoy success around the opposing crease. Drew Glorioso scored an extra-man goal after a slash by Cowan, and Brian Betz and Jeff Patterson each added a goal in the final two minutes of the half to give the Gators a 6-4 advantage.
North County found itself down two men early in the third quarter. One serving time in the penalty box was starting goalkeeper Chris Labosky (12 saves). The Knight's backup, Damian Ferragamo, turned away one shot before Taylor added the extra-man goal on an assist from Faith. Cowan's third and fourth goals gave the Gators a 9-4 lead with 8:03 left.
Jeff Proctor ended North County's scoring drought with 5:25 remaining and initiated a four-goal rally by the Knights that cut the lead to 10-7 with 2:03 left. Andy Mocarsky, Greg Sabo and Ryan Seggerty each scored goals during the Knights' run.