CATONSVILLE, Md. — In Wednesday’s Maryland 4A/3A boys’ lacrosse final, South River goalie Nick Marcelino watched seven shots hit the back of his net before his team celebrated its first goal. With each score, the sixth-ranked Seahawks moved closer to letting their dream of an undefeated season slip away, one victory short.
But Marcelino didn’t let the slow start define his performance. When the game finally ended in a 10-8 South River victory more than three hours after it started, teammates mobbed the junior netminder, engulfing him amid a flurry of flying sticks and other equipment.
Marcelino made 17 saves as the Seahawks roared back for 10 of the game’s last 11 goals. Junior Ben Chisolm and senior Chris Carr each scored twice and the team waited out a long lightning delay to close out its second perfect season in four years.
“I don’t want to say he saved the day for us,” Coach Paul Noone said of Marcelino. “But it was damn close.”
South River, which lost by a goal to Linganore in last year’s final, needed those heroics after a forgettable start. Westminster (16-3) scored three goals in the first 91 seconds of the game and led 7-0 on senior Mike Kibler’s score early in the second quarter.
Playing in its third state title game in four seasons, South River (20-0) went scoreless for nearly 20 minutes to start. But once the Seahawks got their offense settled and started winning face-offs, the comeback took shape quickly.
Senior Tyler White got the Anne Arundel County champs on the scoreboard with 4 minutes 30 seconds left in the first half, beginning a run of four straight goals heading into the half.
They kept it going after the intermission with four more unanswered scores and took an 8-7 lead on junior Lavon Chaney’s tally with about three minutes left in the third quarter. Senior Michael Strange’s man-up goal later in the period gave South River the lead for good.
“We had to take it one goal at a time,” Carr said. “That’s what coach talked about in the locker room. We just had to keep chipping away at it, and we kept going and didn’t look back.”
Meantime, Marcelino kept Westminster in check, making eight saves in the third quarter. The goalie had to wait almost two hours to make his final two stops, but after the skies cleared, he kept the Owls scoreless during the 2:33 remaining. In all, he allowed just one goal in the final 32 minutes of the game.
“I just think I could see the ball a little bit better,” Marcelino said. “My defense helped me out, too. I knew they had my back the whole time.”. . .
The other two state lacrosse finals scheduled for Wednesday night were postponed to Thursday because of the storms. Glenelg will meet Hereford in the Maryland 3A/2A boys’ final at 4 p.m., followed by Severna Park against Westminster in the Maryland 4A/3A girls’ final.