The subjects ranged from their early days playing club lacrosse together to last year’s state title to this year’s string of wins.
When the conversation turned to their freshman season, the senior tri-captains for the Patterson Mill boys lacrosse team — Kevin Dyke, Connor Madsen and Chance Urban — collectively cringed.
“We were terrified going into every drill. Everything seemed like ‘Holy smokes, just try not to mess up,’ ” Dyke said.
“I’d always come to practice with bruises and stuff and it was always good to see those two guys with me having the same bruises,’’ he said. “We were all doing the same thing, going through it together, and we really built chemistry through some of the defeats. It made us all better players and helped us become the team we are now.”
When Patterson Mill coach Jason Bellamy made the decision to put Dyke, Madsen and Urban together as the team’s second midfield unit in 2016, he saw it as an investment for the program.
The return has been impressive.
The Huskies went 13-6 last season and won their first Class 1A state championship with an 18-8 win over Smithsburg. The trio accounted for nine goals and eight assists in the historic win.
This year’s team, with six senior starters, opened with 12 straight wins and heads into the region playoffs with a 13-1 mark. The Huskies earned the top seed in the 1A East Region and will host the Kent County-Cambridge winner May 13.
While their talent speaks loudly on the field — Dyke is a throwback two-way midfielder; Madsen is the program’s all-time leader in goals; and Urban, who has since moved to attack, is a crafty playmaker — Bellamy is most impressed with how they’ve grown as leaders. All three standouts are “A” students.
“You never have to worry about this team because they are leading it,” Bellamy said. “Every year, they’ve taken on more and more responsibility and they continue to push their teammates to be better. I think that’s the greatest attribute they’ll leave on this program, that they made all the kids around them better.”
Best friends since they began playing on the Bel Air travel team in fourth grade, the trio’s chemistry is undeniable, with Urban regularly sending no-look passes to Madsen or Dyke because he knows exactly where they will be.
Their leadership roles have developed naturally because of the trio’s strong bond and common traits, starting with hard work and accountability.
“I really don’t think there’s a big difference between the three of us,” Urban said. “I feel like we’re on the same page at the end of the day and if somebody goes up to Kevin or Connor and asks them a question, they’d get the same answer from me.”
Senior defenseman Evan Ehly, in his third varsity season, is impressed by how the captains have meshed their own personalities to benefit the team’s success.
Dyke brings fierce competitiveness to set a positive tone in games and practices. Madsen, who was a C. Markland Kelly Award winner as the top Class 1A player last season, has explosiveness and special skills that inspire confidence. And Urban is more easygoing and someone everyone instantly connects with.
“They’re just a great group of guys and they all put in more work than anybody else I’ve ever played sports with,” Ehly said. “They’re all talented to begin with, but then they put even more work in compared to others and they just achieve another level of greatness. It’s big because everyone sees how good they are getting and we just want to be able to get as good as them, so we can carry our weight, too.”
Madsen’s goal production has steadily climbed each season, from nine as a freshman to 45 this year in the regular season. Set to play at York (Pa.) College, he has 106 goals, 68 assists and 202 ground balls while handling faceoff duties throughout his career.
Dyke’s forte was defense when he started his high school career, but he’s become a well-rounded midfielder and the team’s ground-ball king with a program-high 217 in four years. With his 37 goals and six assists this season, he has 67 and 17, respectively, for his career.
Urban, who accepted a scholarship to play at Mount Olive in North Carolina, triggers the attack with his versatility and game sense. With 28 goals and 26 assists this season, he has 80 and 58 for his career.
Individually, each would be a difficult assignment for an opponent.
“It makes it near impossible to stop them when you have three dynamic players like that and Coach Bellamy and [assistant] Coach [John] Grubb use them so well,” Fallston coach Chuck Muir said. “They can run by you or sit on the perimeter and they have accurate shots. The rest of the team complements them well, too.”
Having spent most of their weekends hanging out together, the trio has made plenty of lasting memories.
There’s the countless ping pong and basketball games, Urban’s improbable goal against a Canadian team in a club tournament game in the fifth grade and more lacrosse tournaments in Hershey, Pa., and Ocean City.
As for the favorite of them all, that one was easy: last year’s state championship game.
“Starting out as freshmen when we were barely winning a game, if you would have told me two years later we would win a state title, I would have said you were crazy. That was a surreal moment to play at Stevenson and have the season we did last season,” Dyke said.
Dyke, who plans to attend Penn State to study engineering, is making sure to savor every last experience this senior season brings with the ultimate goal of bringing home a second straight state crown.
“Most importantly, we’re having a great time because we understand this is the last time we’ll be playing together,” he said. “I’ve been playing with these guys, it’s felt like my whole life, so I couldn’t picture a better way to end it.”