Hereford takes down No. 16 Towson in 3A/2A boys' lacrosse playoffs; Nozemack accounts for 10 points (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE!!)
Though it gained a share of the Baltimore County boys' lacrosse championship, Hereford High was far from pleased with its performance against Towson last week. The Bulls redeemed themselves Friday.
No. 11 Hereford defeated the 16th-ranked Generals, 12-6, in a Class 3A/2A North Region sectional semifinal in Baltimore County. Junior attack J.D. Nozemack had four goals and six assists for the Bulls (12-3 overall), and Flynn posted a hat trick.
The Parkton school was impressive in all three phases - offense, defense and faceoffs - advancing to Monday's section I final against Eastern Tech. The Mavericks defeated City College, 16-6, in the other section I semi Friday afternoon.
Last Saturday, Towson and Hereford met in the county final. The game was stopped early in the fourth quarter after the parent of a Towson player suffered a medical emergency. County athletic and school officials decided not to finish the contest and the teams were declared co-champions.
The Bulls' defense, which allowed 12 goals in a little over three quarters Saturday, smothered Towson's offense Friday. Hereford coach Sal Picataggi said Scott Middleton, who didn't play Saturday because a "turf toe" injury, was the difference.
"We're different with him in the lineup, that's for sure," said Picataggi. "That kid changes our entire defense."
The longstick unit with Middleton, Campbell Carr, Will Reott and Troy Tuveson effectively slid and doubled the ball. General senior standout Jack Bell, who tortured Hereford in the regular season and title game, finished with a goal Friday.
"We slid early and adjacent which really messed with their heads," said Middleton, who played only five minutes in the regular season match because of another injury.
Joey Chestnutt added to Towson's misery, winning 17 of 21 faceoffs. Down the street from his future home, Towson University, Chestnut wiped out any Towson's hopes of a comeback.
After Generals converted in extra-man to pull within 7-3 at the start of the fourth, Chestnut claimed the ensuing faceoff. Nozemack, working from behind the cage, found freshman Cole Simmons in front of the net for an easy tally.
Towson got back to 8-4, but Chestnut won the ensuing faceoff, broke downfield and pass to Nozemack, who found Gavin Schatall for a quick strike. It was deja vu all over again as freshman Josh Furman finished a Nozemack pass after Chestnut's faceoff win and break.
"He's easily the best faceoff man in the state," said Nozemack.
Chestnut deflected the praise to his teammates and coaches. He said the Bulls wanted to prove something Friday against Towson, which took them to overtime during the regular season.
"After the two games being tight and them having the lead for most it, we felt like we didn't do our best," said Chestnut. "We wanted to play better and make a statement."
Leading 2-1 after the first, Hereford started pulling away in the second as Nozemack found Andrew Clark for a goal, and followed Chestnutt's faceoff win with an unassisted strike, all in just 17 seconds. Jake Baldwin finished a Nozemack pass with just six seconds left before halftime, giving the Bulls a 6-2 advantage.
Nozemack, who's committed to Monmouth, made it 7-2 with an unassisted score. Picataggi knows the 5-foot-8 Nozemack is the straw to Hereford's offensive mix.
"We know he's getting the best defensemen, getting shutoff, and yet, he does what he does," said Picataggi.
Adams and Bechdal each scored twice for Towson (11-3), which had a 12-10 lead in the fourth quarter of Saturday's league title match at Hereford when Bell's father had a medical emergency and was taken to the hospital.
During halftime Friday, the Towson public address announcer read a statement from the Bell family, thanking the first responders.
"We just went through an emotional roller coaster and it's been a hard week for us," said Towson coach John Cummings, whose team beat Patapsco, 18-0, in the opening round Wednesday. "I don't know if that played into it, but they [Hereford] played better than we did."
Class 3A/2A North Region playoffs
Section I semifinal
No. 11 Hereford 12, No. 16 Towson 6
Goals: Hereford - Nozemack 4, Flynn, Baldwin, Clark, Furman, Gibbons, Schatall; Towson - Adams 2, Bechdal 2, Bell, Welling
Assists: Hereford - Nozemack 6, Chestnut, Tuveson; Towson - Dugan 2
Saves: Hereford - Talbott 6; Towson - Simmons 8
Hereford 2 4 1 5 - 12
Towson 1 1 0 4 - 6
Last Updated (Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:57)