The Towson boys lacrosse team celebrated its seniors with a big crowd against Baltimore County rival Hereford on Tuesday, and the Generals’ Class of 2021 provided plenty to cheer about.
Faceoff specialist Kyle Ketterman, who dominated important stretches, cleanly won the opening draw and scored six seconds into the game.
Fellow seniors Evan Jones (two goals, two assists), Colin Hughes (three goals), Nate Hochrein (two goals, one assist) and Mike Giordani (nine saves) carried the day as the Generals enjoyed an eight-goal lead at the half on their way to a 14-9 win over the Bulls.
The win ended a 14-game slide against Hereford for the Generals, who improved to 6-1 in the condensed season. Hereford fell to 5-2.
“Every day, we get out together and make sure to play fast and move the ball quick and I think we did that today. We really prepared for this game well,” said Jones, a captain. “We had a lot of goals from a lot of players, so I think we played really well as a team today.”
The Generals opened with gritty energy and a precise attack to build a 10-2 halftime lead.
After Ketterman’s opening goal, Jones scored twice and Hochrein added his first for a 4-1 advantage that stayed that way after consecutive point-blank saves from Giordani late in the first quarter.
After turning aside the second shot at the 2:15 mark, the Generals took over possession and sophomore Ben Ellis scored 20 seconds later for a 5-1 lead.
Late in the second quarter, Hughes and sophomore Will Kennedy, who also finished with three goals, pushed the advantage to 10-2.
The Bulls made halftime adjustments — scrapping harder for ground balls, clearing more efficiently on defense and moving the ball more swiftly on attack — and were able to cut the lead to 12-9 with 5:55 left in the game on Jay Bowens’ second straight goal. Hochrein responded with a momentum-shifting goal with five minutes left to seal the win.
“It was amazing,” Giordani said. “As a team, we told each other we got to watch hours of film, know what they’re going to do before they know what they’re going to do. We held them to two goals in the first half, got a little sloppy in the second half, but held our own.
“It’s very rewarding, especially when you have an electric crowd like we had.”
For Hereford, Bowen, Chase Gibbons and Trey Gibbons each scored twice and goalie Logan Bush finished with six saves.
With the shortened season, Bulls coach Kyle Leppert said the opportunities to see how his team handles adversity is more limited. Tuesday provided some and, despite the loss, he saw resiliency with the Bulls’ performance in the second half.
“We’ve had challenges with the starts of games and we rolled in slowly,” he said. “But that doesn’t take anything away from the shooting those guys had. I can’t think of one they missed.
“So we had a bit of a gut-check and again we’re happy to have that sometimes with the season being so short and it was good to see how they responded. We had a really good run to start the second half, but had dug too big of a hole.”
Both teams close out the regular season at 5:15 p.m. Thursday. Towson travels to Franklin, while Hereford hosts Dulaney.
Both games are rematches from season openers May 11, when the Generals beat Franklin, 15-3, and the Bulls edged Dulaney, 11-7.
After the completion of the regular season Thursday, the teams competing in the region playoffs will be seeded Friday with postseason play opening Monday.
Hereford is in Class 2A North Region I, while Towson will compete in Class 3A North Region I.
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Goals: H – C. Gibbons 2, T. Gibbons 2, Tiller, Taylorson, Kyger, Bowen 2; T – Hughes 3, Kennedy 3, Jones 2, Cloyd, Ellis, Hochrein 2, Derbyshire, Ketterman. Assists: H – Sinsebox 2, Taylorson, Pisano; T – Jones 2, Hochrein, Derbyshire. Saves: H – Bush 6; T – Gioradni 9. Half: T, 10-2