The Glenelg Country boys' lacrosse team capped its best season in school history by winning its first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference title with a 12-7 victory over two-time defending champion Chapelgate Christian on Friday at Towson University.
Midfielder Robbie Lynch scored a team-high three goals, and attackmen Paul Johnsen and Chris Burge and midfielder Ben Rosen each added two goals as the Dragons claimed the rematch of last year's final, which the Yellowjackets won, 14-4.
"They crushed us last year, so there was definitely a revenge factor for us this year," said Coach Tom Marachek, whose team finished 13-2, a school record. "We worked hard all season to get back to the championship game, and I thought we played one of our best games of the season against [Chapelgate].
Chapelgate Christian, which was led by senior attack Alex Hahn's three-goals, finished 15-3, with two of its losses against its county rival.
Leading 6-5 at intermission, the Dragons put the game away in the third quarter, as midfielder Chris Lamb, Burge and Rosen scored in just over two minutes to extend the lead to 9-5 with 7 minutes 43 seconds remaining.
Marachek said the victory is a step toward moving into the MIAA's B Conference, which he hopes could happen after next season.
"Right now, we'll definitely stay in the C Conference next year," Marachek said. "If we can get one or two really good lacrosse players to come to our school, then we can really build a program and get better and better very quickly."
Though Glenelg senior attack Matt Nicola has scored more goals than any other player in school history, he wants to graduate next week with another milestone: the school's first state title.
Nicola, who has 58 goals this year and 120 in his career, said he'd trade every one for a victory over Pikesville in the 2A/1A state final Tuesday, a game that ended too late to be included in this edition.
"I know there have been a lot of great teams and a lot of great players who have played at Glenelg," Nicola said. "But the biggest honor for me would be knowing that I helped lead my team to the state title, because no one at our school has ever done that."
Glenelg has been close -- losing in the state finals in 1997 and 2000 and in the state semifinal last season -- but this year's team has posted more victories (15) than any of its predecessors.
"We're playing well right now, but so is any team that makes it this far, including Pikesville," said Glenelg Coach Mike Williams, whose team entered the week on a 15-game winning streak after a season-opening loss to South Carroll. "We've had some tough losses in the state final, but it's still one game, and anything can happen, and I know this: We'll come ready to play."
An Outstanding Week
Glenelg senior right-handed pitcher Stephanie Sims picked the perfect time to play her best softball of the season.
Sims had one of the best weeks of her career to help lead the Gladiators to their second consecutive 2A South Region title with victories over Central, Hammond and Atholton.
Sims threw no-hitters in a 20-0 victory over Central and 6-0 win against Hammond and held Atholton to four runs (two earned) on eight hits in a 5-4 victory to secure a berth in this week's state tournament.
And Sims was just as impressive at the plate. She went 5 for 10 in the three games, including two grand slams, and she drove in 10 runs -- none bigger than a single that scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning against Atholton.
Glenelg (20-5) advanced to play Easton on Tuesday in a 2A semifinal game that ended too late to be included in this edition.
"I don't know if we could have asked anything more from her," Coach Cameron Rahnama said of Sims, who entered the week hitting .405 with a county-high six home runs and 37 RBI. "That's about as good a week as I've ever seen anybody have."