Category: Baltimore County News
Lock-down ‘D’ and Griffey’s offensive explosion propels Hereford past Towson
by Nelson Coffin
The Hereford boys lacrosse team’s defense has been outstanding against public school rivals this season, yielding an average of just 3.3 goals per game prior to Thursday’s meeting with No. 19 Towson.
And while the Generals were able to do better than that against the team with which they shared the Baltimore County title last spring, they still dropped an 8-4 verdict to the ninth-ranked Bulls on a cold and windy evening.
“We have a great defense and we’re a defensive-minded team, for the most part,” Hereford coach Sal Picataggi said about a senior-laden backline that features Scott Middleton, Jack Drury, Sam Wanamaker, Will Reott and Troy Tuveson protecting John Talbot in the goal. “We’re never surprised when we hold a team to a few goals.”
If there was a surprise in the game, it was the fact that Grafton Griffey stole the show on the offensive with a four-goal explosion for Hereford.
Typically, the Bulls’ offense is paced by senior attackmen JD Nozemack (3 goals, 1 assist) and Gavin Schattall (2 assists), and both contributed to the win.
Yet it was the unheralded Griffey who took it to Towson on Thursday, forcing the Generals to shift a longstick on the junior midfielder after trying to cover him with a shortstick.
“Sometimes I have zero goals and zero assists,” Griffey said. “But today I finished. I got my opportunities in the offense we run and finished the opportunities I got— in the crease or outside on dodges.”
Griffey said that Towson poled him after he scored two goals and eventually sealed him off after he scored two others.
The final ploy was a mark of respect for someone who doesn’t usually draw such attention.
Even when he’s not pumping in goals, Picataggi said that Griffey is a valuable performer.
“He’s a true two-way middle,” the coach said. “He plays defense and does a lot of things we need. He doesn’t need to score for us to win, but he needs to be on the field for us.”
Towson, which was playing its fourth game in six days, could have had a better showing by keeping possession after junior Mitchell Boudreau won eight of the game’s first dozen faceoffs.
Instead, fierce play by Hereford wings Middleton, Drury, Reott and Aden Johnson more often than not took the ball away from the Generals, who also had a slew of unforced errors on clears.
“It wasn’t the right day to have a bad clearing game,” said Towson coach Shawn Burke, a former standout attackman at Calvert Hall and UMBC. “We weren’t able to do much clearing work in practice, and Hereford is really tough in the press-ride. We weren’t very sharp today, but I like how we competed.”
Towson’s defense was pretty effective in its own right after giving up goals to Griffey, Nozemack and senior midfielder Henry Traynor to fall behind, 3-0, with 2:36 remaining in the first quarter.
After Griffey netted his second goal to put the Bulls up, 4-0, early in the second period, senior Drew Evans and joined junior defenders Teagan Hersh, Carson Reed and Matt Jahries in shutting out Hereford for nearly 19 minutes.
“They did a good job of stopping the bleeding — stopping our momentum,” Picataggi said. “I thought we could expand on our lead a little bit, and we had some good shots. I thought their goalie (senior Matt Simmons, 12 saves) bailed them out a couple of times.”
Towson halved the deficit on goals by junior midfielder Rob Welling and junior attackman Mason Hickman before the Bulls broke the drought on another Griffey goal and ultimately took a 7-3 advantage heading into the final period.
NO. 9 HEREFORD 8, NO. 19 TOWSON 4
TOW 0 2 1 1 — 4
HER 3 1 3 1 — 8
GOALS: TOW-Rob Welling, Grant Kuehn, Mason Hickman, Cole McNulty; HER-JD Nozemack 3, Grafton Griffey 4, Henry Traynor.
ASSISTS: TOW-Grant Kuehn 2; HER-D Nozemack, Gavin Schattall 2.
SAVES: TOW-Matt Simmons 12; HER-John Talbott 8.