One team made history while other continue its pursuit of rarified air Friday evening in the Class 1A state lacrosse semifinals at Bel Air.
No. 8 Liberty girls earned a chance at a three-peat, dominating Perryville 19-1. Perryville’s boys punched its ticket to a first state final date with a 12-5 victory over ACCE.
Senior Vince Muscella scored seven goals, five in the second half as the Cecil County school earned a final date with fellow UCBAC member Fallston at Stevenson University. Fallston defeated Washington County’s Smithsburg in the other semifinal, played at Wheaton.
“We have made history today,” Perryville coach Doug Savick said. “I was even thankful that I had some other Cecil County coaches that were like ‘Go get them coach. It’s nice to have Cecil County on the map.’ We face a giant [in the state final] in Fallston but it is better than going home.”
Muscella and Nick Howes scored two goals apiece in the first six minutes of the game as the Panthers pushed out to a 5-1 lead. ACCE composed themselves, pulling to within 7-4 before halftime.
The second half belong to Perryville.
Muscella said it felt surreal to break through after losing in last year’s state semfinals.
“We have been fighting and fighting every single year and to finally make it means so much to us,” Muscella said. “We had a goal set this season to make it to [the state final] and we accomplished it and it feels awesome. It’s surreal.”
For ACCE, it was another step in the right direction for a relatively young program. This is the second year in a row that the Baltimore City school has lost in the state semifinal round.
“Our program has really grown the last two years,” ACCE coach Lantz Carter said. “Last year, we had seven wins and this year we finished 11-2. [We were] the second team in [Baltimore] city. We had a better showing here in the semifinals, we just came up a little short.”
Junior Daimon Spriggs, who had two goals for Eagles Friday, said he is looking forward to building on the team’s success next season.
“The season was great,” Spriggs said. “We just didn’t execute on the field enough. We just have to work on our craft and come back next year better.”
Liberty has seemingly perfected its craft as the Carroll County school put up 16 goals in the opening half for a chance at 3-peat. Senior Jenna Evans scored four goals for the Lions and freshman Jordyn Ott and Riley Matthieson each added hat tricks.
“A lot of the game that we have won by one, we have started slow,” Evans said. “Throughout the playoffs, we have been working on starting off fast. Getting possession is really important, and that helps us starting fast.”
Liberty coach Tom Brendel was impressed with the ability of his team to stay focused and not looking ahead. The Lions will attempt to become the first area girls team since Manchester Valley (2A-1A; 2014-16) to win three consecutive state crowns.
“I think we came out focused and we shared the ball on offense [really well],” Brendel said. “We are happy to be in the position we are in. Our senior class has been amazing, and we are going to give it our best effort in the championship game.”
“It’s a great opportunity,” Evans said of the chance to three-peat. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We just have to practice hard these next couple of practices and play our game.”
CLASS 1A STATE SEMIFINALS
at Bel Air
PERRYVILLE BOYS 12, ACCE 5
ACCE 2 2 0 1 - 5
Perryville 6 1 2 3 - 12
Goals: ACCE – Daimon Spriggs 2, Antoine Robinson 2, Eylo Lang; Perryville - Vinnie Muscella 7, Nicke Howes 2, Zach Clarke 2, Luke Roberts.
Assists: ACCE – Asa Arnold; Perryville – Zach Clarke 3, Evan Benyon 2, Grayson Ittner, Vinnie Muscella.
Saves: ACCE – Marquis Prater 9. Perryville – Daniel Hickling 10.
LIBERTY GIRLS 19, PERRYVILLE 1
Perryville 0 1 - 1
Liberty 16 3 - 19
Goals: Liberty - Jenna Evans 4, Jordyn Ott 3, Riley Matthiesen 3, Annika Wray 2, Taylor Jendrek 2, Emily Spampinato, Izzy Lucas, Julia Lucas, Sophia Carpenetti, Reese Edwards; Perryville – Sarah Murrell
Assists: Liberty – Mady Smith 2, Annika Wray, Emily Spampinato, Jenna Evans, Riley Matthiesen, Sophia Carpenetti, Taylor Jendrek
Saves: Liberty – Emily Pond 1; Perryville – Samantha Peterson 3