BURTONSVILLE - One team gained a shot at redemption while the other received a long-awaited shot at a championship at the Class 3A state lacrosse semifinals at Montgomery County’s Paint Branch.
For the second straight season, Mount Hebron boys lacrosse team will play for the state championship after a convincing 11-6 decision over Frederick County’s Linganore. For the first time since 2008, No. 11 Towson girls earned a state final berth with a 14-6 victory over Linganore.
Mount Hebron (13-6 overall) reeled off four straight goals to close the first half and never looked back to earn a rematch with defending state champ and 11th-ranked Severna Park, Thursday at 6 p.m. at Stevenson University’s Mustangs Stadium in Owings Mills. The No. 11 Falcons blasted Southern Maryland’s Chopticon, 24-4, Friday evening at Crofton.
“It’s huge [for our program],” Mount Hebron junior midfielder Keegan Ryan said. “This year, people were doubting us because we lost a lot of seniors last year. Nobody thought that we would be able to make a run like this. But we had great leadership with seniors and juniors – the junior class was really strong for us. We were able to play unselfish and play as a team. That was huge.”
Ryan, who scored the winning goal in overtime in last year’s state semifinal win over Linganore, paced the Vikings with five goals Saturday. The Howard County school controlled the tempo throughout Saturday and remained patient in its offensive attack.
That was something coach Mike McCarthy stressed to his team prior to the game. He also lauded sophomore midfielder Doug Cohen for his ability to control the faceoffs to help the Vikings maintain possession for extended periods.
“Doug Cohen was about 75 percent on faceoffs,” McCarthy remarked. “Our offense stayed patient and found the matchups that we wanted. We ran our offense and were patient with the ball to find our shot.”
Mount Hebron fell to Severna Park in the title game last year at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex. The Ellicott City school last won a state title (3A/2A) in 2006.
“It was a different path this year,” McCarthy said. “This year we knew we were going to have some growing pains early in the year and we did. But the kids stayed focused, and the kids just worked hard to be in this position. Our kids are ready for any challenge that is in front of them. We will be ready whenever we play.”
Towson’s senior class finally have the chance to play for a girls state championship. The Generals had reached the state quarterfinals the past two seasons.
“This 2023 class is really something special,” Towson coach Taylor Carhart said. “We knew since they started as freshman, they were destined for great things and they have proven us right. The chemistry there and the trust is unbelievable. They trust each other, they enjoy every moment and they enjoy each other.”
Seniors Avery Briggs and Brigid Vaikness led the charge in the decisive run for the Generals (14-1). Towson reeled off eight straight goals to take an 11-3 game heading into halftime. Briggs had three goals and an assist during the run, while Vaikness cashed in a pair.
“I have been working for this for so long,” Briggs said. “Four years alongside all of my other seniors. It’s just so thrilling to finally be able to make it to the top notch, like top-level lacrosse in our state, is great.”
Towson showed it has a bright future after this seaons with standout performances by players like Gabi Galvez. The junior attack finished with a team-leading four goals.
“We have gotten really good at working for the best shot,” Galvez said. “We take our time with it, make sure everyone is organized, we are all on the same page. That is the most important part [of our success].”
Towson will take on No. 9 Severna Park for the state title, Thursday at 4 p.m. at Stevenson University. The Falcons outlasted Westminster in overtime, 13-12, in the other 3A semifinal Friday at Crofton.
“Winning would be the icing on the cake,” Carhart said. “I am really happy for them because they deserve it. We love these players. A team lives and dies by their seniors. The seniors set the tone. They came in and said ‘we can do it and we are committing ourselves to it’ and the underclassmen followed suit. I’m just glad they get every opportunity out the season to be together.”
CLASS 3A STATE SEMIFINALS
at Paint Branch
MOUNT HEBRON BOYS 11, LINGANORE 6
Mount Hebron 1 4 3 3 - 11Linganore 1 0 2 3 - 6
Goals: Mount Hebron - Keegan Ryan 5, Cooper Stockenberg 3, Maverick Smith 2, Will Kettering; Linganore – Shawn Eisenhart 3, Maddox Levinson 2, Cody Griffis
Assists: Mount Hebron - Rich Tangires 3, Cooper Stockenberg 2, Maverick Smith 2, Aidan Hauf; Linganore – Maddox Levison, Gregory Camden, Kyle Gardner
Saves: Mount Hebron – Luca LeClaire 5; Linganore – Jackson Curtis 5.
NO. 11 TOWSON GIRLS 14, LINGANORE 6
Towson 11 3 - 14
Linganore 3 3 - 6
Goals: Towson - Galvez 4, Avery Briggs 3, Jillian McNulty 2, Brigid Vaikness 2, Chloe Gibson 2, Finlay Harmon; Linganore – Megan Hummel 3, Leah Doy, Hadley Robertson, Reese Wallich
Assists: Towson – Chloe Gibson 2, Jillian McNulty 2, Avery Briggs; Linganore – Hadley Robertson
Saves: Towson – Megan Cottrell 2; Linganore – Payton Boteler 1.