Every time Severna Park's Ben Hunt stepped onto the lacrosse field this year he thought about one team: four-time defending Maryland 4A/3A champion Dulaney, which had defeated the Falcons in the state championship game by a single goal in each of the past two seasons.
"It didn't matter if I was running sprints or passing to a teammate, I never thought about anything else the whole season when I had a lacrosse stick in my hand," said Hunt, a junior attack. "I just wanted to play Dulaney again."
Hunt's thoughts turned to joy yesterday, after his fourth goal, with 2 minutes 26 seconds remaining in double overtime, lifted the 10th-ranked Falcons to a 10-9 victory over Dulaney in a Maryland 4A/3A semifinal game at Annapolis.
His game-winner, which he drove into the upper-right corner of the goal after receiving a pass from senior midfielder Drew Mueller, sent his teammates into a frenzy as they jumped on top of him to celebrate a victory against a team that had caused them so much heartbreak.
"Now Dulaney knows how we felt, and how much it hurts, and there was no way I wanted to go through what we've been through again -- that feeling was getting old," said senior attack Andre Lusby, who posted three goals and an assist.
Severna Park (15-4) advanced to the Maryland 4A/3A final at 4 p.m. Wednesday at UMBC, against the winner of Monday's semifinal between Walter Johnson and Westminster.
"Now, all we have to do is finish it," said Severna Park senior defender Tommy Zichelli.
The Falcons took a 6-3 lead early in the second quarter, but Dulaney pulled to 6-5 at the half.
Dulaney (14-3) carried the momentum in the third quarter, as junior attack Ryan Hoff scored three of his game-high seven goals in eight minutes to give the Lions an 8-7 lead with 4:12 left in the period.
Severna Park responded with goals from junior midfielder Davy Jo Ruppert and Lusby to take a 9-8 lead entering the final quarter, but with three minutes left in regulation, Dulaney senior attack Will Englehart scored the equalizer.
The Falcons were just inches away from ending the game in regulation as Hunt's shot caromed off the post with 51 seconds left, but his aim was true six minutes later.
"As soon as I saw Ben get the ball I had a good feeling he was going to score," said Severna Park sophomore goalie Mike Gvozden, who made 19 saves, many from point-blank range.
Eagles' Dream Run Ends
As Northeast's boys' lacrosse team doubled its regular season victory total during its run through the postseason, Eagles senior Brent Woolford never once stopped to consider it might end. No opponent was too fast, talented or savvy for Northeast.
But as the Eagles entered the Maryland 3A/2A tournament for the first time in school history, they encountered a Towson team with enough skill to stop their momentum. The Generals scored five times in the first four minutes to coast to a 15-4 victory in a 3A/2A semifinal at Urbana.
"They just shocked us," said Woolford, who had one goal. "They're a quick team and they just took it to us."
Towson (15-1) advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 1999, and will play for its fifth state title against Centennial at 8 p.m. Wednesday at UMBC.
Towson established control by winning every faceoff in the first quarter. The Generals controlled the ball for more than the first half of the first quarter, as five different players scored in the first four minutes.
"I thought we could at least come out and hang with them," said Northeast freshman goalkeeper Mike Chubb, whose 12 saves kept the score from getting out of hand.
Still, Eagles Coach Matt Lindner praised his team for its playoff victories over City, J.M. Bennett and Leonardtown, in which the Eagles registered their three highest scoring totals of the season.
"I told them that I want to peak during the playoffs," Lindner said, "and that's exactly what they did."