REISTERSTOWN, Md. — With its season hanging in the balance midway through the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Maryland 4A/3A semifinal against Westminster, the Churchill boys’ lacrosse team showcased the crisp passing, skillful dodging and confident shooting that put it on the cusp of program history.
But the game-tying goal never came and with it went the Bulldogs’ chances for their first state final berth in what turned into a season-ending 14-10 loss. The Owls (16-2), who have won 11 in a row, advanced to meet South River in Wednesday’s 4 p.m. state final at UMBC.
“We just couldn’t put the ball in the net,” Churchill senior Cameron Moshyedi said. “Every time they got the ball, they scored. That really took a lot out of us because we felt like we were dominating the game.”
Making their first state tournament in 10 years, Churchill (14-3) led by a goal at half and battled Westminster in a back-and-forth contest into the fourth quarter before its offense went cold. After junior Morgan Rhodes tied the score at 10 with 10 minutes 28 seconds left, the Bulldogs never scored again.
Churchill, which broke Wootton’s run of six straight West region titles this season, had numerous chances in the next few minutes but couldn’t find the equalizer. Westminster closed with a flurry, adding three goals in the final 3:04 of regulation to set the final margin.
Churchill also struggled to capitalize on Westminster’s at-times undisciplined play. The Bulldogs failed to produce a single goal on seven man-up opportunities.
“Now that we have this big game experience hopefully we can take it to next year,” said Leonard, who has committed to Towson. “We want to finish it off. We don’t want another outcome like this.”
Earlier in the day, the Churchill girls’ team saw its season end with an 18-8 loss to Westminster. Senior Mairin Hall had four goals and senior Maddy Flax added two more, but the Bulldogs came up short in the 4A/3A semifinals for the third straight season.
Churchill (13-3) never threatened the upset as Westminster (13-4) scored three goals before the Bulldogs ever had possession in their offensive end. The Owls led 8-2 after 13 minutes and maintained at least an eight-goal advantage for most of the second half.
But the result represented progress for the three-time West region champs. Churchill scored a total of five goals in its first two state tournament semifinal appearances and lost both games by at least 17 goals.
“The experience has definitely been great — I’ve loved it,” Flax said. “Not a lot of girls even have the chance to come out here three years in a row, and we’ve shown how much better the Churchill program gets every year.”
Westminster advances to meet Severna Park on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the state final at UMBC. The Falcons beat the Owls, 14-7, for the title last spring. . . .
The Glenelg boys’ team will play in a state final for the fifth time in six years after beating Kent Island, 11-8, in a Maryland 3A/2A semifinal at Annapolis. Senior Mark Darden and sophomore Mikey Wynne had four goals apiece, and the Gladiators (17-2) never trailed in avenging a regular season loss to the Buccaneers.
Glenelg, which won the 2A/1A title last year, will play four-time defending state champ Hereford in the final on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at UMBC.