Brenden Kittner wears many hats for the Hereford boys lacrosse team, playing on the man-down and extra-man units as well as being an integral big part of the six-on-six offense.
Even if he gets caught on defense once in a while, the junior midfielder can handle that, too.
“He has a finger on the pulse of pretty much everything we do,” Hereford coach Kyle Leppert said.
On Saturday afternoon in a Class 2A state semifinal against Easton, Kittner rifled in five goals during a searing stretch late in the second quarter and early in the third period when the Baltimore County champs began to assert their authority over the Warriors from Talbot County in what turned out to be a convincing 15-8 victory.
Kittner wasn’t alone in pelting the Easton goal. Baylor Davis tallied four times, fellow senior attackman Trey Gibbons contributed three scores and senior midfielder Connor Hartlove added two goals for the Bulls.
Leppert said that his team’s shooting has improved greatly since bowing to Westminster, 5-4, early in the season.
Extra shooting drills have paid big dividends, Leppert noted.
“I told my wife after the Westminster game that I would have fired the offensive coordinator — if it wasn’t me.” he joked. “We have just continued to put more time into shooting.”
And Leppert is not about to overlook a defense that helped to snap the Warriors’ 16-game winning streak.
With five newcomers in the defensive rotation, the backline prospers from having the steady leadership of close defenders Ryan Walter and Max Morrison playing in front of fellow senior netminder Cole Jedlicka (5 saves).
“The week after Easter, we started to hit our stride,” Leppert said about a team that has prevailed in its last 11 games.
Another highlight from the Easton win was the fact that junior Cole Wallner more than held his own on face-off duty, especially in the third quarter during the Bulls’ surge.
“We finished even at the ‘X’,” Leppert said. “But (Wallner) started to win a couple of draws and the offense was gaining confidence. They stayed patient, and we started to feel it was a pace we could manage. In the fourth quarter we used the clock and made good choices.”
Hereford (14-2) will meet another Eastern Shore rival, Kent Island, Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium for the opportunity to win the program’s 11th state title and first since 2021.
The Bulls would like nothing better than to avenge last year’s 13-3 thumping by the Buccaneers in a state semifinal after edging them, 5-4, in the 2021 finale.
“We had that close win over them and then didn’t hit our stride last year,” Leppert said. “We’re hoping we can play as sharply as we did today (on Tuesday).”
CLASS 2A BOYS LACROSSE STATE SEMIFINAL
(AT HAVRE DE GRACE HIGH SCHOOL)
HEREFORD 15, EASTON 8
Goals: Easton-Drew Schmidt 3, Nate Butler 3, Charlie Kaminskas, Aiden Filon; Hereford-Brenden Kittner 5, Baylor Davis 4, Trey Gibbons 3, Connor Hartlove 2, JP Revitte.
Assists: Easton-Drew Schmidt, Tyler Rardin, Hudson Royer; Hereford-JP Revitte 3, Connor Hartlove, Drew Goetz, Colin Ratta.
Saves: Easton-Jack Kilbourne 4; Hereford-Cole Jedlicka 5.