Not many lacrosse state championships have come from outside the Baltimore metropolitan area — and none from Calvert County in Southern Maryland.
Northern of Calvert County proved to be an exception to the rule after breaking a 3-3 halftime deadlock on a goal by senior midfielder Colten King with just under five minutes left in the third quarter and edging Glenelg High School, 5-4, in the boys Class 3A/2A state championship game at Stevenson University on Tuesday night.
The Patriots went toe-to-toes with the Gladiators (13-7) in the first half, rallying from a 3-1 first-quarter deficit to draw even on junior attackman Mason Chaney’s goal assisted by senior defenseman Brandon McCutcheon to finish a fancy fast-break with less than a second left in the half.
“We had a couple of times when we blew it in transition,” Glenelg coach Josh Hatmaker said. “We didn’t get back on that turnover. We told them the game plan was, ‘don’t let them run.’ We felt we could play them six-on-six.”
It was still a one-goal game in the fourth quarter when Northern notched an extra-man goal when Chaney one-timed his third goal of the game on a nifty feed inside from freshman attackman Matt Holland for a 5-3 advantage with four minutes and 48 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Gladiators, though, kept pushing forward and pulled to within a goal on a power move by junior attackman Tyler Nalls with just under two minutes remaining in regulation.
The hard-luck Nalls was denied a goal earlier in the period because of a moving pick call that went against Glenelg.
In the final minute, he almost bullied his way past a couple of defenders to net the equalizer before the ball was knocked loose and picked up by Northern goalie Darryl Walker.
Regardless, the Gladiators were held to just one goal over the final 36 minutes and 32 seconds, a dry spell that cost them the opportunity to earn the program’s fourth state crown in 10 appearances in the final.
“We tried to be more aggressive and push out more on their shooters,” said Northern coach Joe Casalino.
Even so, Hatmaker thought his shooters were settling for risky shots.
“They did (push out on the shooters), but we took some shots that were uncharacteristic of our team,” he said.
On the defensive end, the Gladiators stood tall the entire game, especially in six-on-six situations.
When asked if he thought his team would win if it held the Patriots to just five goals, he said, “yes.”
In other words, his defense and goalie Brian Doughty played well enough to win, but the offense was stymied.
The senior netminder finished with nine saves, although his counterpart, Walker, had at least one acrobatic save in the late going on a point-blank shot that may have been the play of the game.
The bottom line is that Glenelg’s 10-game winning streak was snapped and a state title denied.
Still, there were positives to take away from the 2017 campaign.
“Our schedule was front-loaded this year, and we knew that coming in,” said Hatmaker about the Gladiators’ 3-6 start. “But the young kids kind of grew up this year, and that makes the future bright.”
3A/2A BOYS LACROSSE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
(AT STEVENSON UNIVERSITY)
NORTHERN OF CALVERT 5, GLENELG HIGH SCHOOL 4
Glenelg 3 0 1 1 — 5
Northern 1 2 0 1 — 4
GOALS: G-Tyler Reif, Tyler Nalls, Eric Gruber, Kyle Dry; N-Mason Chaney 3, Brandon Dulhoff, Colten King.
ASSISTS: G-Michael Doughty 2; N-Brandon McCutcheon, Daniel Horak, Matt Holland.
SAVES: G-Brian Doughty 9; N-Darryl Walker 5.