CATONSVILLE — Dulaney has the stickwork and the boys lacrosse tradition.
That was painfully evident in the first half last night as the Lions eliminated South Carroll from the Class 3A/4A state playoffs, 9-3, at Catonsville Community College.
Before the game, South Carroll coach Gene Brown had said Dulaney might be the most talented team the Cavaliers ever played, and the results seemed to confirm that suspicion.
Though the Cavaliers were clearly outplayed in the first half, South Carroll actually dominatedon offense in the second half. It outshot Dulaney, 15-7, after intermission. Also, South Carroll's defense started forcing Dulaney mistakes and turnovers. The Cavs were able to turn many of those miscues into offensive opportunities, but couldn't convert the opportunities into goals.
"In the first half, I think maybe we were a little bit in awe of their stick work," Brown said.
But the second half was almost a different game entirely.
"You took us right out of our game," Dulaney coach Gary Schreiber told Brown as the two shook hands after the game.
"They were too anxious," Schreiber said of his team'soffensive play in the second half. "Instead of making three or four passes, they were only taking one and shooting."
A Dulaney assistant coach also told Brown that South Carroll goalie Mike Gaffney was the best his team had seen all year. Gaffney turned back eight Dulaneyshots, including several point-blank ones.
Dulaney built an 8-2 lead by halftime, as junior midfielder Brad Berzins pumped in three first-half goals and assisted on three others. Dulaney dominated the second quarter, outshooting South Carroll, 14-5, and outscoring the Cavs, 4-1.
South Carroll redeemed itself somewhat in the third quarter, outshooting Dulaney, 9-5, but could not close on the scoreboard.
Brown, though, said the strong second half was important for his team, which doesn't command the respect in lacrosse circles that schools like Dulaney do.
"We're real proud of our guys," he said. "Some people said we didn't belong here, but I think we proved we do."
With the victory, Dulaney (12-0) advanced to Saturday's state title game against the winner of last night's other semifinal, between North County and Annapolis, both from Anne Arundel County.
Kyle Blough scored a pair of goals for the Cavaliers (10-3), while Jeremy Russin had the third score.