2014 MIAA C Conference lacrosse champions Indian Creek School Eagles
If nothing else, Beth Tfiloh would liked to have shown marked improvement with each succeeding confrontation against Indian Creek this season, considering its first two encounters were 11-3 and 10-5 losses in the regular season, respectively.
And there would have been no better time for the Warriors to take a bigger step toward that goal than in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference final Friday afternoon at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Unfortunately for Beth Tfiloh, the Eagles were eager to show that their perfect season was built by a team with an ability to close the door on opponents without remorse.
To that end, Indian Creek (15-0 overall) bolted to an early 5-2 advantage and never allowed the Warriors to dent the margin in what turned out to be a resounding 20-10 victory.
Senior midfielder Robert McGurrin started the Eagles off on the right foot when he converted a feed from freshman Brandon Blonder just 21 seconds after the opening face-off.
The Warriors (9-4) retaliated when attackman Matt Kasner, assisted by junior classmate Adam Lubliner, notched the equalizer for the game’s only tie.
McGurrin then gave Indian Creek the lead for good on a beautiful behind-the-back, one-hopper that found the upper right-hand corner.
“That’s just one of those backyard plays,” said McGurrin, who finished with three goals and a pair of assists in his final game.
Blonder scored the first of his four goals to make it 3-1 before junior Josh Schwartz answered for BethTfiloh.
Back-to-back goals by Ryan Baukhages pushed the cushion to 5-2 and the Eagles kept applying pressure the rest of the way. The senior attackman finished his high school career in a big way with a whopping 10 points to lead the new champions’ scoring parade.
According to McGurrin, the Eagles’ mindset was geared toward “coming out hot and never allowing (Beth Tfiloh) a breath of life.”
He also said that finishing unbeaten was a realistic goal after Gerstell Academy, St. John’s Cathlolic Prep and St. Vincent Pallotti moved up to the B Conference for the 2014 campaign.
“With those three moving up, it gave everyone the hope that we could do something special,” McGrurrin said.
And special the Eagles were, putting away Chapelgate Christian Academy, 11-4, while Beth Tfiloh struggled to hold off Key School, 10-8, in a physical contest on the other side of the semifinal bracket. Aside from a 1-0 forfeit triumph over Cristo Rey Jesuit, the closest a rival could get to the Eagels was four goals this season.
Nevertheless, Warriors coach Bob Bieschieke was not lamenting his team’s plight despite the lopsided nature of the final.
“We’re building a culture,” he said about a team that finished a combined 11-28 the prior three seasons. “This is the first year these kids haven’t walked away losing a lot of games. This is just a beginning for us.”
Although Beth Tfiloh sophomore goalie Nolan Plant (21 saves) acquitted himself well in the game, facing the sheer number of shots (65) by an offense playing at such a high level was a daunting proposition.
Of course, with sophomore face-off specialist Blake Wishard claiming 19-of-23 draws and the team winning 24-of-34 overall, the Eagle offense had more than enough opportunities to continue their assault.
Meanwhile, senior Sean Kerns was his usual steady self for Indian Creek between the pipes, thwarting at least one point-blank offering among his 13 saves.
“Sean has been coming up big for us all year,” Indian Creek coach Mike Fretwell said.
As for not allowing Beth Tfiloh any opportunity for optimism during the final, Fretwell added that “We weren’t too concerned who we were playing. We just wanted to be ourselves.”
MIAA C Conference lacrosse championship
at Towson University
Indian Creek School 20, Beth Tfiloh 10
BT 2 2 3 3 — 10
IC 5 4 4 7 — 20
Goals: Beth Tfiloh – Kasner 5, Schwartz 2, Lebowitz 2, Hoffman; Indian Creek – Baukhages 5, Harbachewski 5, Blonder 4, McGurrin 3, Harrison 2, Wishard.
Assists: BT – Lubliner 3, Schwartz 2, Hoffman; IC – Baukhages 5, Blonder 2, McGurrin 2, Harbachewsk, Jenkins.
Saves: BT – Plant 2; IC – Kerns 13