When the Fallston boys lacrosse team signed up to play a nonconference game at Howard County power Glenelg, the Cougars knew it would serve a great benefit in helping them prepare to defend their public school Class 1A state title next month.
And with a 93-mile roundtrip from Harford County, they were also determined to have a happy bus ride home.
The Cougars did just that — taking hold of the game with five straight goals starting late in the second quarter and having an answer for every Glenelg push to close out a sturdy 10-6 win.
Sophomore attack Jacob MacMillan had two goals and two assists to lead a balanced attack, junior faceoff specialist Aiden Dixon consistently provided big possessions and the Cougars defense held its own when called upon in staking claim to the fine team win. Fallston improves to 6-2 on the season, while Glenelg drops to 6-3.
Down 4-2 with five minutes left in the second quarter, MacMillan got the Cougars within a goal at halftime. They followed with goals from Luke Wolff, two from Brendon Mudd before Lucas Hurlburt made it 7-4 with 5:18 left in the third quarter. From there, the Cougars always maintained at least a two-goal cushion against the Gladiators, who were Class 2A state semifinalists last season.
“Coming down here and coming out with a win sends a statement to every other team we’re going to be playing,” said Mudd, a senior midfielder who finished with two goals and one assist. “They see we beat Glenelg, which is an amazing team, and they know that we don’t just come out here to come out here. We have one goal, and that’s to win another state championship at the end of the year.”
The Cougars had a couple of players get injured early on Tuesday but were able to fight through the adversity and eventually get the ball past Glenelg senior goalie Blake Hunter, who had seven of his 10 saves in the first half.
After the five-goal spurt produced an 8-5 advantage, the Gladiators got a big goal from Jacob Szczepanski with seven seconds left in the third quarter to potentially enter the fourth with momentum.
It didn’t happen. Dixon won a big faceoff to start the fourth quarter and the Cougars ate up some time.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the visitors were down a man for one minute, getting a key stop from goalie Landon Mills (five saves) to maintain the two-goal lead. Then, with the Cougars on the man-advantage, Mudd found Hurlburt to increase the lead to 9-6 with 4:55 to play. A second man-advantage goal by Gage McKenna made it 10-6 before more strong defense closed out the win.
“Aiden was huge at the [faceoff circle], kind of keeping possession for us and we found some momentum on offense,” said Fallston coach Pat Mull. “Their goalie was really, really good and we struggled against him early on, but got a couple to go in and we gained some confidence. I’m just proud of the way we fought.”
Glenelg coach Josh Hatmaker was impressed with how the Cougars ramped up their intensity in important stretches.
“I thought they were a very good team. They run hard, they run a lot of stuff and I thought we didn’t take care of the ball enough, and that’s on the coaching staff, on us. We just weren’t prepared enough for them, so I’ll take the ‘L’ on this one,” he said.
Fallston will host the annual Fred Sheckells Tournament on Saturday, opening against Dulaney at 9 a.m. with Archbishop Curley taking on Queen Anne’s. The two winners will then meet in the championship game. Glenelg returns to Howard County play next week when it hosts Marriotts Ridge at 6:30 p.m. on April 20.
Goals: F — Hurlburt 2, MacMillan 2, Mudd 2, Estremsky, King, Wolff, McKenna; G — Szczepanski 2, C. Iannarino 2, Hampton, Klopp
Assists: F — Hurlburt, Mudd, MacMillan 2, McLaughlin; G — T. Iannarino 2, Sotka,
Saves: F — Mills 5; G — Hunter 10
Half: G, 4-3