For Severn's Court Durling, helping defeat Boys' Latin was a battle for respect.
The Admirals' junior goalie made a grandiose personal statement with 17 saves in a 7-6 lacrosse victory over the then No. 2-ranked Lakers. His one-on-one stops were stellar.
"Maybe now, up in Baltimore, they won't expect us to be a cakewalk," said Durling, who had no hint of malice in his voice. "Everyone expects us to fall. We're never judged [with due respect]. Maybe now people will see we can win a close, one-goal game."
"Maybe now, we won't have to hear . . . about inflated records and padded schedules," added coach Peter Trau, who took over before the season when coach Rob White, an Army reservist, was activated for Operation Desert Storm.
The Admirals (12-2) picked up five victories on a California swing during spring break. They never claimed the West Coast competition was tough, yet when they dropped one-goal decisions to St. Paul's (10-9) and Calvert Hall (9-8) to begin the MSA A Conference portion of their schedule, derogatory comments prevailed.
"Maybe now, Court won't have his last name misspelled," said Trau. "It has been 'D-A-R-ling' and 'D-E-R-ling' so many times."
Durling certainly helped make a name for himself Saturday. The young goalie began playing in the Severna Park recreation leagues nine years ago as an attackman.
"The team I played for the first year wasn't very good," he said. "I was on attack and stood around all the time because the action was always at the other end of the field. So I asked for a chance to play in goal."
He had been in the middle of the action ever since, until last season. He sat as a backup behind Craig Fleming.
"I didn't like it, but I expected to sit [behind a senior] during games," said Durling. "I got my time during practices, and we were winning, so I accepted it."
The Admirals ended second to Loyola last spring, their best finish since they had won three straight BB Conference titles (1981-83). Previously, they had not won a championship since 1965 when Milt Roberts was the coach and Buddy Beardmore, the former University of Maryland coach now at Anne Arundel Community College, was a star player.
While Durling was thwarting Boys' Latin in Saturday's matchup, Dudley Dixon and Matt Long spearheaded the second-half attack that scored six straight goals and gave the Admirals a 7-3 lead with eight minutes remaining.
That set the stage for Durling and his defensive mates to seek some overdue respect. The Lakers' Kevin Bryan (3 goals, 1 assist), Kevin Lutz (1 goal) and Mark Lavreghetta (3 assists) made it interesting, but converted only six of 32 shots.
Durling and the Admirals earned their respect.