Michael Kenski’s teammates on the Linganore boys’ lacrosse team describe the senior attackman as a hard worker — the kind of player who continues shooting and working on individual skills through water breaks at practice and keeps working on his own long after the rest have put their sticks away.
So when the Lancers faced a two-goal deficit against South River heading into the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s 4A/3A boys’ lacrosse title game at UMBC, it felt natural to lean on their leading scorer to bring them back.
With the Linganore offense under orders to get him as many touches as possible, Kenski answered. He scored his team’s last three goals — including the winner with 4 minutes 59 seconds left — in a 13-12 victory. Kenski finished with four goals and an assist and Alex Rice added five goals as the Lancers became the first Frederick County team to win a state boys’ lacrosse title.
“I just felt like it was my time to go,” Kenski said of his late-game heroics. “I went as hard as I could.”
After giving back all of an early five-goal lead, the Lancers (16-1) relied on senior Alex Daly’s faceoff prowess, a gritty defensive effort and Kenski’s offense to ensure they landed the final blow in a back-and-forth contest.
Daly, who will attend the U.S. Military Academy Prep School, won three straight faceoffs to start the final quarter.
And the offense turned them into three goals in 45 seconds to take a 12-11 lead.
“We’ve done that before in the season,” said Daly, who won 19 of 29 faceoffs. “That’s the biggest momentum swing for us. Everyone gets fired up.”
After South River senior Michael Gibbs tied the game, Kenski, who scored 22 goals in five tournament wins, dodged a defender and buried a shot to give Linganore the lead again.
Linganore goalie R.J. Tischler made a save with just less than two minutes remaining to snuff out one Seahawks bid to tie. And after the teams exchanged turnovers, South River’s Ben Chisolm (game-high six goals) ripped a shot that clanged off the left post with about 20 seconds left. South River (16-4) couldn’t chase down the rebound, and Linganore junior Tyler Thompson, who had two goals, ran out the final seconds to secure his team’s third comeback victory of the tournament.
“I don’t even know what I’m going to do,” Kenski joked. “I’ve been looking forward to this moment my entire life. Now what?”