The Northeast boys lacrosse team had history on its side Friday night, but its opponent proved more adept at simple geometry.
The Eagles failed to defend their title in the sixth-annual James Griffin Memorial Tournament, losing, 5-3, to a Chesapeake team that had never won the event.
Northeast's inaccuracy was a sound reason why.
"I'm sure we outshot Chesapeake in the first half and the fourth quarter. We just took a barrage of shots. But my guys think it's a 6-by-8 goal, instead of a 6-by-6," Northeast coach Kevin Buckley said.
"That's what I told them after the game: Dream of 6-by-6."
A couple of Chesapeake players who stood ankle-deep in mud in front of their bench after thefinal talked of fulfilling a dream by beating their Pasadena rivals.
"I've waited two years for this moment. I wanted it, and I worked for it and I got it," said senior keeper J. B. Braun, who made four saves.
Braun was assisted by a Cougars defense that would not allow Northeast to establish anything remotely resembling an offense in the third quarter, which began with Chesapeake leading, 4-2.
"The defense has been our key all year: James Quasney, Dave McWilliams and Eddie Hamilton," Cougars assistant Marvin Pyles said. Pyles and Dave Evanco assumed the head coaching duties in the absence of Bob Connor,who remained in his Baltimore home with the flu.
"The offense dida good job holding on to the ball, but every time (Northeast) came down, it came right back the other way."
Five different Cougars scored, starting with junior attacker Steve Kopp, who countered a goal from Northeast's Jay Hunter with 6 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first quarter.
Senior attacker Mike Snow gave Chesapeake a 2-1 lead with 41 seconds remaining, but the Eagles' Kevin Mursch answered 21 seconds later to tie the score at 2.
The Cougars' Ron MacKenzie and Greg Cameron beat Northeast keeper Steve Gorski in the second quarterto account for the 4-2 halftime lead.
Cameron's goal came with Northeast a man down after a slashing call on midfielder Jamie Katlic with 3:12 left.
Gorski kept the Eagles close with eight saves, including two in quick succession early in the third quarter.
"I was impressed with our intensity, and our defense played well -- particularly our goalie, Steve Gorski, who is making a strong bid for All-County," Buckley said.
"We've had four games, and he's been solid in every one."
Unfortunately for Buckley, three of those games have ended with losses.
"Once we get our offense in gear, which I hope will be soon, I feel we'll be turning things around," he said.
"But I congratulate Chesapeake. It was a relatively well-played game considering the conditions."
A daylong rainstorm left the field extremely muddy in spots, especially in front of both goals and at the faceoff circle.
"It was terrible," Chesapeake senior midfielder Rick Turek said. "I had no feeling in the stick. You'd try to pass the ball with mud caked in there."
It didn't prevent him from assisting on Cameron's second-quarter goal, then adding the clincher with 1:34 left in the game.
The Eagles' Dave Froncokski had cut the lead to 4-3with 7:17 left when he whistled a shot past Braun from 20 yards out.
Northeast had three chances to tie the score, but Mursch missed wide to the left, Kevin Shepke was denied on a great save from Braun and Katlic's shot struck the top post.
"It's a heck of a rivalry. It's always going to be a close game, no matter who's up or who's down," Pyles said after Chesapeake had raised its record to 3-1.
The Cougars advanced to the finals by defeating Easton, 9-4, Thursday, behind four goals from Turek. Cameron added two goals and one assist.
Northeast, meanwhile, got past Glen Burnie, 6-4, on three goals and one assist from Bryan Kershaw and 16 saves from Gorski.
In Friday's consolation game, Easton defeated Glen Burnie in sudden-death overtime, 6-5.