Broadneck boys lacrosse coach Clay White didn't feel up to talking about playoffs after his team's 6-3 loss to North County on Tuesday.
The subject resurfaced Friday afternoon, and this time, White was more willing to broach the subject.
He called the Bruins' 10-7 conquest of visiting Southern a "must win," as they all are from here on. Broadneck is 7-2 overall -- minusthe two losses in an Easter Tournament that don't count toward playoff points -- and in a heated chase for one of eight postseason spots.
"Our kids responded real well," he said. "Our effort against North County, we were flat and listless. I questioned their character a little bit, and they showed me that they do have a little more character than they showed Tuesday.
"It didn't matter who we were playingtoday, we had to respond."
They did, behind a strong penalty-killing unit that survived a couple of man-down situations and a two-man disadvantage late in the third quarter.
"That was a tremendous key," White said. "Thad Holsberg and David Britton, two kids who came off the bench, just did an excellent job. We ran a box-and-one against them, and I think it gave them problems."
"Broadneck just did a good job defensively. Coach White does a good job getting them ready for the games," said Southern coach Bill Schwarz, whose team slipped to5-5 in its quest for a playoff berth.
"Any loss now is going to hurt, so it's all must-win all the way through," he added.
Broadneck seized control from the outset, building a 4-1 lead just over two minutes into the second quarter and never trailing.
Southern did climb to within one goal, 5-4, early in the third quarter, forcing White to call a time out and settle his players.
"I just told them to calm down a little bit and let's keep our poise. Southern really cameafter us. That's characteristic of any Southern team. They're just not going to quit," White said.
Broadneck led, 2-1, on goals from Steve Bruso and Mike Strohman when Bryan Bowman was called for a slash, leaving the Bruins a man down for one minute. But sophomore keeper Sam Peterson (12 saves) thwarted a Shawn Phipps' attempt, and Southern lost possession on an errant pass.
Broadneck's Marc Whynock and Strohman followed with goals, and the Bulldogs eventually fell behind, 5-2, at halftime.
Phipps (one goal, one assist) scored in the opening 30 seconds of the third quarter, and teammate Mark Thomas converted a Steve Griner pass at 3:14, but the rally was halted when Greg Jackson fed Strohman for a goal.
A slashing call left Southern a man down, and Bruso circled the net and stuffed a shot past sophomore keeper Brian Barber to move the Bruins further ahead, 7-4. They eventually led, 10-4, before the Bulldogs scored three goals in the final 2:06.
"We started flat in the beginning of the game and the intensity came at the wrong time," Schwarz said.
Strohman, a junior attacker, finished with three goals. Bruso and Whynock each had two goalsand an assist, and Jackson tallied one goal and two assists.
MikeNorton and Brendan Collins each scored one goal, and John Hanna was credited with two assists.
"We were more relaxed this time," Brusosaid. "We were too uptight going into most games. We were told to relax and have a good time."
"We're just trying to give our best effort every game and see what it comes down to," Strohman said.
Southern was led by Daniel Weikert with two goals. Griner, Phipps and Jayme Block each had one goal and one assist, and Thomas and Chris McQueeny had one goal apiece.
Scott Songer had an assist, and Barber made 13 saves.
The hosts enjoyed a 33-23 edge in shots, but Schwarz thought the most telling statistic was Broadneck's 50-39 advantage inground balls.
"We weren't picking up ground balls like we should have been and that's what hurt us all the way around," he said.