La Plata lacrosse teams fall in SMAC finals
Patriots score 12 first-half goals to claim eighth-straight SMAC boys lax crown
The names change, but the results stay the same for Northern.
Senior captain Colton Dick scored a game-high four goals and juniors Mason Chaney and Brandon Sulhoff notched three goals apiece as the Patriots overwhelmed the visiting La Plata Warriors, 17-2, to capture their eighth straight Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championship on Monday evening in Owings.
“I feel like a lot of guys supported me today. We were moving the ball and sharing it a lot, I just found space in transition and dialed in on my finishes,” Dick said.
“We’ve won eight SMAC titles straight, which is pretty cool,” Chaney said, who had two assists in the game. “I was just mainly trying to get open and the backside and find people cutting in for the easy goal.”
Northern (13-2 overall), which ended the regular season last Wednesday with its 104th consecutive SMAC win, that a 20-1 rout of North Point, added yet another conference title to its program résumé.
“Everyone talked about last year’s team and how we had a lot of strong players. People didn’t think we were going to be quite that good this year,” Northern head coach Joe Casalino said. “But we recognized early on in the season that we could be real special and guys worked hard everyday to keep improving and try to reach their full potential. As long as we keep doing that we will be tough to beat.”
With nifty passing, speed and array of scorers, Northern started fast and was in complete control, as junior Abe Hubbard scored the first goal of the game one minute in. From there, the Patriots took a 3-0 lead before Ben Lebarron got
La Plata on the board with 2 minutes 23 seconds left in the first quarter.
Northern pushed the lead to 5-1 and La Plata answered right back with its second tally of the game by Cody Getgen to end the quarter.
“Northern just out-hustled us. They are a great team,” said La Plata head coach Kris Bayer, whose team fell to 11-4 on the season. “I think if we played consistently and hustled to groundballs, we could compete at the very least. But today they were just the better team by far.”
That would be the closest La Plata got as Northern began to wear down the Warriors, scoring seven straight goals to take a commanding 12-2 halftime lead. The Patriots forced a running clock as they scored four goals in the third quarter.
At the end of the third, freshman Matt Holland broke Vincent Smiroldo’s single-season assist record, notching his 38th of the season on a dish to senior Alex DiGirolamo (2 goals).
Holland got No. 39 midway in the fourth on a goal by junior Hunter Huxoll’s to cap off the game’s scoring.
Northern showed its potent ball movement, collecting 15 assists on its 17 goals scored.
“I think we were able to get our transition going and we pushed the pace a little bit harder than we did the first time with them,” said Casalino, referring to a 13-6 win over La Plata on March 29. “That made it very difficult for them to get organized defensively and it open up some holes for us to score some goals. We have some finishers around the cage and when we get moving like that it is hard to keep us off the board.”
The Patriots now have their sights set on on getting similar results in the postseason. Last season, the Patriots won the program’s first regional championship since 2005. The team lost to eventual Class 3A-2A state championship Linganore of Frederick County in the state semifinals and wants to improve upon that finish.
“You want to win SMAC, a region title and give yourself a chance at the state level,” Casalino said. “That is the position we want to be in and now we have a couple days until the playoffs.”
Northern, the No. 1 seed in the 3A-2A East Region Section II playoffs, starts its journey Friday in the section semifinals against the winner of today’s section quarterfinal matchup that has fifth-seeded Thomas Stone at fourth-seeded Calvert. The time of today’s contest was not known at press time.
La Plata is the second seed in the bracket and will start Friday in the section semifinals against either sixth-seeded St. Charles or third-seeded Huntingtown, a section quarterfinal contest scheduled for 4:30 p.m. today at Northern as Huntingtown High School is hosting the SMAC track and field championships.
La Plata’s Preston Pipes, left, looks to pass as he is defended by Jack Purcell of Northern in Monday’s SMAC boys lacrosse championship game. The Patriots won 17-2.