Towson falls flat in bid to reach Class 3A state final; Northern-Calvert bolts to a 9-1 lead to top 14th-ranked Generals

by Nelson Coffin

There were very few signs of life by the No. 14 Towson boys lacrosse team in a Class 3A state semifinal on Saturday.

Whether it was the draining effects from attending the senior prom on Friday night or simply the overpowering play of Northern-Calvert (18-1), or a combination of both factors, the result was a frustrating one for a senior-laden squad from Baltimore County.

Practically before they knew what hit them, the Generals (11-5) were facing a 2-0 deficit that ballooned to 4-0 with 56 seconds remaining in the opening quarter against a rival looking for an 18th consecutive win.

Towson derived some solace from a goal by senior midfielder Rory Bateman early in the second period to cut the deficit to 4-1 before the Patriots went on a 5-0 run to effectively put the win in their hip pocket.

The 12-minute drought until senior midfielder Mason Hickman scored early in the third periods was simply too much to overcome.

The Generals did eventually get goals from senior midfielders Leighton Bechdel and Max Burkett, although they were not enough to offset Northern’s relentless onslaught against senior goalie Wilson Turner (7 saves).

Towson tried four players — senior midfielders Bechdel, PJ Fenchak and Mitch Boudreau and sophomore Kyle Ketterman — in the face-off game against junior midfielder JP Gross, who nevertheless dominated the draws.

Although Boudreau, who typically takes the draw, didn’t have his best outing, Burke was quick to defend the standout FOGO.

“It’s not just on Mitch,” he said. “It’s on the whole team. Our wings didn’t do well and we weren’t picking up groundballs near the restraining line.”

With more possessions, the Patriots had plenty of opportunities to bedevil the Generals’ defense.

Juniors Markie Nicholson and Matt Holland and sophomore Brenner Chase took most advantage of their chances, combining for eight goals.

“We just had to keep playing hard,” Holland said. “We showed our poise today. We took advantage of JP’s face-offs — he’s our MVP.”

Northern coach Joe Casalino said that he thought Holland could win his matchup, forcing Towson to put a long stick on him after his third goal of the game.

“I thought we distributed the ball really well today,” the coach said.

Towson coach Shawn Burke did not want to use the untimely prom schedule as an excuse.

“That’s a really talented, blue collar team over there,” he said. “We just didn’t handle their strengths well. Holland is the best player we’ve played against all season. He was a tough matchup.”

Pictured above: After a strong showing against C. Milton Wright in the Class 3A North Region final, Towson senior midfielder Leighton Bechdel and the Generals dropped a 12-4 decision to Northern-Calvert in a state semifinal on Saturday at Mount Hebron. (Photo courtesy of Preston Turner)

THS 0 1 3 0 — 4
NC 4 5 1 2 — 12
Goals: THS-Mason Hickman, Leighton Bechdel, Rory Bateman, Max Burkett; NC-Markie Nicholson 3, Matt Holland 3, Brenner Chase 2, Coy Mills 2, John Sulier, Zach DeToto.
Assists: THS-None; NC-John Sulier, Cody Howard.
Saves: THS-Wilson Turner 7; NC-Alex Sheehan 9.