River Hill played three games in less than three days leading into its game at Reservoir on Monday. That, in addition to sustained winds on a cold night on the first day of spring break, could have been a recipe for a serious letdown against the Gators.
Then Reservoir scored the first two goals.
“They got themselves in it, they’ve got to get themselves out of it,” River Hill coach Keith Gonsouland said. “They’re a veteran group and they’ve got to figure some things out.”
From that point on, it was all Hawks. They reeled off six straight goals — all assisted — and went into cruise control en route to a 15-5 victory.
Senior Max Friedman led the way with five goals and two assists, while Tyler Hopkins added four tallies and a helper for River Hill, which snapped a two-game losing skid to improve to 4-1 in Howard County play and 5-5 overall.
“You play three games in less than 24 hours and then you go from 80 degrees to winter again. It’s not easy,” Gonsouland said. “For our guys, it’s all about mental toughness and really just focus. That’s really what we have to focus on: being mentally focused on the task at hand and if we do that I feel like we can play with anybody.”
Reservoir (2-3, 2-6) lost its third straight game and fifth out of its last six but showed flashes throughout the evening. Senior Talon Campbell, who as of April 10 led the county in goals (31) and points (43), scored a hat trick, and faceoff specialist Jakota Parker netted a pair of goals.
“I liked the start. The defense was playing good, we won some faceoffs, we scored some goals. They were playing lacrosse at a high level,” Gators coach Bryan Cole said. “And then we missed opportunities. We missed a lot of ground balls and I think we had like four of five doorstep shots we missed in the first half.”
Reservoir was off and running to start the contest thanks to Campbell. The 3A 300-meter state champion in indoor track this winter, Campbell’s speed was evident from the start, as he put his team in front on a fast break less than three minutes in. Just 51 seconds later, Parker found the back of the net to double the lead.
Although Ryan Henry and Friedman answered with goals for the Hawks later in the quarter, Reservoir kept pace with the Hawks. Shots were even at nine, both Gators goalie Nick Hoover and River Hill net minder Kyle Henry made four saves and Parker won four of five faceoffs.
The turn of the quarter marked the beginning of the end for Reservoir. Friedman needed just 20 seconds to put the Hawks in front on the extra-man offense, and goals from Hopkins, Josh Weingrad (goal, four assists) and Ethan Brown in the span of about two minutes made it 6-2.
Campbell, a UMBC commit, scored twice more before the end of the half to keep the Gators within striking distance at the half, but River Hill netted the first three goals in the third quarter and the final four of the contest to turn it into a blowout.
It’s been an up and down season for the Hawks so far — they haven’t won or lost more than two games in a row — but they have mostly taken care of their business in league play. Their toughest opponents are still ahead, however, with Centennial, Marriotts Ridge and Glenelg being three of their final four opponents left in the regular season.
“We’re playing with them [good teams] but now we’ve got to beat them,” Gonsouland said. “Yeah, we played with Mount Saint Joe. The Arundel game and Howard game [both close losses], those were early, but I’ve told the guys that we need to win these games. Next week with Centennial and Marriotts Ridge will be big for us.”
On the other side, Campbell continues to be a bright spot for the Gators. He has scored 34 of the team’s 65 goals on the season and is closing in on the school’s all-time points record held by Brendan Castleman. Cole said Campbell should set the new mark within the next couple of games.
“He’s just all over the field. He plays attack, he plays midfield, he takes faceoffs, he plays man down,” Cole said. “He’s just an all-around lacrosse player and then he’s also pretty unselfish. He fed probably like six or seven scoring opportunities at least today and that’s just how he plays. Sometimes guys don’t make the plays and that frustrates him but he keeps sending them the ball. He’s one who believes in the lacrosse gods, you know? You get what give.”
River Hill (4-1, 5-5) — 15, Reservoir (2-3, 2-6) — 5
Goals: RH — Max Friedman 5, Tyler Hopkins 4, Ryan Henry 2, Josh Weingrad 1, Ethan Brown 1, Andrew Skalny 1, Christian Bond 1; Re — Talon Campbell 3, Jakota Parker 2
Assists: RH — Weingrad 4, Friedman 2, Kurt Bentson 1, Bond 1, Hopkins 1, Jimmy Reeves 1; Re — None
Saves: RH — Kyle Henry 10, Kevin Hickey 2; Re — Nick Hoover 9, Xavier Ochoa 2
Halftime: 8-4, River Hill
OTHER COUNTY RESULTS:
Catonsville — 17, Oakland Mills (4-4) — 3
Goals: OM — Joe Thompson 1, Jonald Semprit 1, Tyler May 1
Asssts: OM — Chase Williams 2, Semprit 1
Saves: OM — Ashan Kersey 13
Halftime: 9-1, Catonsville