The fourth quarter hasn’t been kind to Hereford High boys’ lacrosse team this season. Against Gilman School, McDonogh School and Severna Park, the Bulls faded into losses.
After a four-goal advantage dwindled to one Saturday evening against undefeated and No. 9 Broadneck, Hereford appeared primed for more final period heartache. But the No. 13 Bulls finally pushed the right buttons, claiming a 9-5 decision in the title match of the Gerry Case Memorial Tournament in Cape St. Claire.
Junior attack JD Nozeman had two goals and two assists for Hereford (6-3 overall), and Jake Furman and Jake Baldwin each tallied twice. Junior midfielder/faceoff specialist Vinnie Facciponti scored twice for Broadneck (7-1), and Keegan Howser finished with a goal and an assist.
The defending Baltimore County champ Bulls were solid on the both sides of the field in the final 12 minutes, gaining their first non-league victory against a VSN Top 10 team. The Parkton school lost to reigning Class 4A/3A state champ Severna Park in the season opener, and lost to MIAA A squads Gilman and McDonogh.
The Bulls had a one-goal entering the fourth quarter before dropping a 13-8 decision to No. 1 and reigning MIAA A champ McDonogh. Gilman broke away from a 6-6 deadlock at the start of the fourth for a 10-8 decision over Hereford Wednesday evening.
“In the middle of the third and fourth quarter, I told the guys we’ve been here before and haven’t come through and we need to do this,” said Hereford coach Sal Piccataggi. “We got some big goals, our big offensive guys stepped up. We controlled the ball and got good looks. I like how we possessed the ball at the end. They finally showed they know how to win.”
“We came out a lot faster, played at a good pace,” said Bulls junior defensemen Scott Middleton. “We definitely moved the ball and gel a lot bettter. It was more of a team effort.”
The Bulls got three goals from their defense as Middleton scored twice and Troy Tuvenson tallied. Hereford held Broadneck’s scoreless over the final 17:13 of regulation.
The Bruins scored three unanswered goals to pull within 6-5 after three quarters. Hereford stopped the run as Jake Baldwin got the rebound off Nozemack’s miss and scored with 11:16 left in regulation.
The Bulls forced a turnover and Tuvenson scooped the groundball and ripped a shot past Broadneck goalie Willem Benson, extending Hereford’s lead to 8-5. After Nozemack finished a pass from Grafton Griffey with 6:13 left, the Bulls were able to control possession for most of the remaining time.
Hereford, which beat Queen Anne’s in Thursday’s opening round (11-2), jumped out to a 3-0 first quarter advantage Saturday. The Bulls, who started slow against Gilman, McDonogh and Severna Park, led 5-1 early in the second after Nozemack’s first tally.
Broadneck stormed back in the third quarter with tallies from Facciponti, Casey Domanski and Howser. Hereford switched to a zone and the Bruins managed four shots in the final quarter.
“I thought our effort was there, it was an one-goal game and their poles got three goals,” said Broadneck coach Clay White. “We had our chances on offense. We had four, maybe five one-on-ones in the first half with our shortstick middies on invert and we either shot too soon or at the goalie’s stick. Total lack of poise on our part.”
Picataggi was pleased to see the Bulls keep their composure.
“We used these games as a teaching tool. The kids we have much room to grow,” said Picataggi. “We haven’t remotely touched our potential.”
Gerry Case Memorial Championship
No. 13 Hereford 9, No. 9 Broadneck 5
Goals: Hereford – Nozemack 2, Furman 2, Baldwin 2, Middleton 2, Tuveson; Broadneck – Facciponi 2, Berquist, Howser, Schwob
Assists: Hereford – Nozemack 2, Griffey; Broadneck – Tobin, Howser
Saves: Hereford – Talbott 10; Broadneck – Benson 8
Hereford 4 1 1 3 – 9
Broadneck 1 1 3 0 – 5