Brad Ruzicka, playing the biggest game of his high school lacrosse career, hadn't registered a point.
No. 7 Dulaney's senior midfielder was kept under wraps for the first 46 minutes of last night's game against Urbana for the 4A-3A championship. But Ruzicka knew it was his final high school game and how high the stakes were; he also knew that when his number was called, he would respond.
"It's my last high school game, and it's a state championship. I don't know if you could ask for anything bigger than that," Ruzicka said. "I'm a senior leader. I have the entire team with me and behind me, and we all needed to step up."
Ruzicka stepped up at the most crucial of times, firing in a shot from 12 yards out with just 1:29 remaining in the game to give his team an 8-7 victory. The win was Dulaney's eighth state championship but first since 2005.
Dulaney (18-2) received production from the whole team, especially the seniors. Seniors Cody Lehrer (four goals), Spencer Martin (one goal, two assists), Jay Mann (one, one), Ben Yancheski (one, one) and Alex Williamson (11 saves) all made solid contributions.
"For the seniors, I know it was their goal to win the state championship, and we got back and did the job," said coach Jake Reed, a 1973 graduate of Dulaney. "I give all the credit to them."
Dulaney and Urbana (16-2) played a month ago, with the Hawks winning, 8-7. Last night's game was just as close. Both teams played methodically in the first half and had trouble finding the net. The game was tied at 2 at the break.
Dulaney took a 5-2 lead five minutes into the third quarter, with Martin, Lehrer and Yancheski scoring, but Urbana rallied. Brian Patton scooped up a ground ball in heavy traffic and scored, and Blake Bing (two goals) barreled toward the crease and finished to cut the lead to one.
Lehrer countered with his third goal of the quarter, and Brendan Oster (two goals) then scored for Urbana, making the score 6-5 going into the final quarter. Ronjohn Dadd tied the game with a man-up goal a minute into the fourth.
The Lions retook the lead when Lehrer powered in a shot from 12 yards. Bing answered with a 15-yard shot for the tie before Ruzicka delivered the big score for Dulaney.