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High School sports

Broadneck boys lacrosse advances to Class 4A championship game after 10-2 win over Urbana

Dominating at the faceoff circle in boys lacrosse is paramount to a team’s success.

Behind Graham Hartman’s total supremacy over his faceoff counterpart, Broadneck will make its first appearance in a state championship game since 1997.

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The Bruins used a patient offense, coupled with a stifling defense, to defeat Urbana, 10-2, in a Class 4A state semifinal game Friday night at Crofton High.

Broadneck (16-3) will face the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal between No. 2 Winston Churchill and No. 3 Sherwood. The state title games are slated for Tuesday through Thursday at The Ridley Athletic Complex on the campus of Loyola University. Dates and times for each class have yet to be decided.

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The Bruins will be well-represented next week, as the Broadneck girls defeated Sherwood, 17-7, in the game that preceded the boys contest.

Ryan Della and Jackson Shaw each netted two goals, Ryan Salazar contributed a goal and an assist, while Braden McCassie, Nate Levicki, Jake Chambers, Jake Schroll and Carter Orders each netted goals for the Bruins. Davis Fisher added a pair of assists, Kyle Pierce was credited with an assist and Colin Gray made eight saves for Broadneck.

“We emphasize playing fast, playing loose and playing fun. You could see that’s our style by the way we started the game,” Broadneck coach Jeff McGuire said. “Their defense had to stop our defense because we had poles coming down the field. That’s the style of play we want to play. It’s so fun to coach when they play like that, just because it’s guys rifling down the field just supporting each other and moving the ball.”

Hartman manhandled the Hawks faceoff specialist winning 12 of 14 draws. The 5-foot-8 sophomore felt that his role played an important factor in the Bruins’ success not only in the semifinal but all year long.

“Faceoffs, in my opinion, are the most important part of the game. If you can’t get possession, you can’t win,” Hartman said. “The coaches do a great job making a game plan with my wings, so if I get a pole on me, they’ll box out so I can go behind. Our defenders do a great job by popping up and they really let me go anywhere I please.

“I thought I had a lot faster hand-speed than him and I had pretty clean exits. The wings did a great job of boxing out and popping out, making it easy to get the ball into our ball-handler’s sticks. I was able to get out quick tonight.”

McGuire knows the importance of an exceptional faceoff specialist and felt the sophomore can be a big advantage against any team.

“Graham is a workhorse and I call him the French bulldog. He’s a scrappy little kid, but he’s smart,” McGuire said. “He was out on our turf before I even got to the locker room doing reps, by himself, getting ready for the game. He’s going to be a valuable piece next week for us.”

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After allowing the game’s first goal just under two minutes into the contest, Broadneck rallied on goals by McCassie, Levicki and Della to take a 3-1 lead after one quarter. Behind Chambers and Della’s second marker, the Bruins held a 5-1 advantage at intermission.

The Hawks opened the second half with another tally, but Schroll, Orders and Shaw gave the locals an 8-2 lead heading to the final stanza. Salazar and Shaw’s second goal gave Broadneck the win and the trip to Loyola after a 23-year hiatus.

Hartman’s governance was just as important as the total defensive shutdown of Urbana’s offense. The Hawks had no answer for the Bruins defense.

“[The defense] was definitely the exclamation point. Those guys deserve all the credit tonight. I don’t think anyone got beat one-on-one tonight,” McGuire said. “Whether it was Albie Palsa making 60-yard looks down the field to an LSM, Tyler Gilbert was on his man like glue tonight and Nate Levicki is maybe one of the smartest defensemen I’ve coached and just suffocating in the defensive midfield and the ride. They had no answer to the ride.”

McGuire noted that at this point in the season, every member of the Bruins squad plays a key role and that the Bruins practices are quite competitive.

“Our motto is, we’re the No. 1 seed now, we say that our second team or scout team is the No. 2 seed,” McGuire said. “That’s the mentality that we have.”

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Hunter Bryant and Gavin McKay scored the goals for the Hawks, while goalkeeper Carter Berg was outstanding, making 14 saves against the potent Bruins attack.


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