The No. 10 Dulaney boys lacrosse team has enough offensive firepower to hang with anyone. Senior midfielders Eric Keppler, Cody Lehrer and Jay Mann pace an offense capable of shooting opponents out of games.
So how exactly do you stop the Lions?
"Don't give them the ball," Urbana coach Joe Conner said. "You have to have long possessions on offense. If we don't get a goal, we still get three minutes off the clock, and the longer they don't touch it, the better our chances."
Yesterday afternoon, Urbana of Frederick County controlled possession and was able to hold off a late rally by the Lions, winning, 8-7, in Timonium.
"This is definitely one of the better teams we played this year," said Lehrer, who is headed to Mount St. Mary's in the fall. "I think they out-hustled us. We didn't really come out as intense as we like to be, and they kind of beat us to the punch and had the ball longer."
Dulaney (10-2) came out of the gate fast. Brad Ruzicka (two goals) and Lehrer (three goals) each scored in the final 30 seconds of the first quarter to give the Lions a quick 3-0 lead.
But the Hawks (11-0) started controlling the ball in the second quarter. They won three consecutive faceoffs and ran methodical plays on offense. Blake Bing (two goals) got the ball and shot while falling into the crease for Urbana's first goal at 9:21. He scored again three minutes later, and teammate Brendan Oster, who had a game-high five goals, scored the last three goals of the quarter to give the Hawks a 5-3 lead.
Both teams had a pair of goals in the third quarter, and Urbana took an 8-5 lead when Oster scooped a ground ball in front of the net and scored with 8:33 left in the game. Ruzicka scored a man-up goal with five minutes left to make it a two-goal lead, but then Dulaney went cold.
In the last three minutes, the Lions had the ball on the offensive side but narrowly missed a few shots and hit the pipes on others. They finally got a goal off a fast break by Lehrer with five seconds left, but didn't have enough time to tie the game.
"I don't think we played very well, but you have to give them credit. We probably didn't play well because they played well," Dulaney coach Jake Reed said. "This is great though, playing the No. 1 public school in the state. That's how you get better, playing good teams. Hopefully, this will help us get ready for states."