Playing a daunting schedule to prepare for a state championship run, the Glenelg boys lacrosse team lost six straight games after a 3-0 start. Over and over in the midst of the difficult stretch, coach Josh Hatmaker told his players: “The little things are going to turn into big things.”
Hatmaker and his staff implemented some new tactics, but mostly returned to the basics to refine those little things. The players bought in, worked hard and the biggest of the big things came May 21, when the No. 10 Gladiators (13-6) claimed an 11-7 win over Century for the Class 2A championship.
The win avenged the last of the team’s six losses. Along the way, the Gladiators also beat defending state and Howard County champion Marriotts Ridge, 7-6, in overtime, in the South Region playoffs.
Four-year varsity player, captain scored 39 goals and added 28 assists in helping the Cardinals to a third straight MIAA A crown
Showed a knack of stepping up in biggest moments; registered three or more points in 14 games with one-goal, five-assist performance in title game
Maryland commit started career at midfield and finished with 81 goals and 52 assists
Said Bryan Kelly: “He’s got great hands — can go right or left equally well. He’s an outstanding dodger and he always plays within himself. What I love most is he’s a competitor, so if we’re struggling, he tends to dig down deep and makes something happen.”
Came into the season with one career varsity start and emerged as the area’s top newcomer on defense
Leaned on agility, tenacity and smart positioning to consistently win one-on-one challenges; anchored a defense that yielded under eight goals per game in going 8-2 in MIAA A play
Collected 52 ground balls, had 18 caused turnovers and contributed four assists
Said St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly: “He takes the top attackman out of the game. It’s his footwork and he’s an exquisitely smart lacrosse player with the angles he takes on the field to cover ground.”
“Even though they were dropping games, their confidence never went away,” said Hatmaker, who completed his 15th season. “They were upset with themselves, they were upset with the results, but they knew they still had a lot of talent and were pretty resilient. I think sometimes you get in a situation like that and kids fold and everything snowballs and you have a really disappointing season. These kids didn’t do that.”
The state title was the program’s fourth under Hatmaker and first since 2011. His career record is 212-58, having also led the Gladiators to 11 region titles and seven Howard County crowns.
Hatmaker credited his assistant coaches — Joe Derwent, Chris Rosas, Jeff Doughty and Jeff Shear — for their hard work and dedication.
Three-year varsity player, captain brought versatile defensive skills and leadership to No. 7 Crusaders (10-6)
Game-changer totaled 78 ground balls, 33 caused turnovers, two goals and six assists this season
Marquette commit played close defense, long-stick midfield and as a wing on faceoffs, typically covering the opponent’s best player
Said St. Paul’s coach Trey Whitty: “Mason has the ability to completely change a game.”
[email protected]sun.com twitter.com/GlennGrahamSun Editor’s note: Because of the selection of Co-Players of the Year, The Sun chose 10 first-team players instead of 11.