Severna Park ushers in McMurray era with win

Four goals by Best help Falcons top Mt. Hebron

Boys lacrosse

March 25, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The coach Brien McMurray era began at Severna Park last night with a 9-7 victory for the 10th-ranked Falcons over unranked Mount Hebron.

Blake Best scored four goals, Jeff Hoffman added a pair and Ben Hunt had a goal and an assist to lead the Falcons. Freshman goalkeeper Mike Gvozsden was brilliant in the cage with 12 saves, several of them remarkable, to pace the victors.

Sophomore Matt Berry pumped in three goals for the visitors and senior Brendan Moore scored twice. Vikings defender Michael Stokes and goalie Will Sepich helped hold the Falcons to one goal in the second half after they jumped out to an 8-2 lead.

Played in front of about 350 fans, including ex-coach Mike Bellotte at Roberts Field, the Falcons had to hold on against the much younger and smaller Vikings.

McMurray replaced Bellotte after the latter coached the Falcons for five seasons to a state title (1999), three region and two county titles and an overall 68-24 mark.

"That's all behind us now," said McMurray, referring to his hiring.

"The kids have gone past that. It's not an issue anymore. It's old news as far as we're concerned."

School officials did not renew Bellotte's contract mainly because he is not a certified teacher. McMurray, who is a veteran assistant coach and was a one-time head coach at Chesapeake, is a teacher and filed a grievance to land the job. He kept it despite several appeals by Bellotte.

"We're all just trying to bond together as a team, and make it a Severna Park lacrosse thing rather than a coaching thing," said Best, who is headed to Lehigh.

"We're trying to win a state championship for Severna Park lacrosse, not for anyone else."

In what was the season opener for both teams, Severna Park raced out to an 8-2 first-half lead as Best pumped in three of his goals.

Mount Hebron, the defending Class 3A-2A state champion, regained its composure during the break to score four unanswered goals to make it an 8-6 game with 4:20 remaining.

"We put our guard down and that's something I've got to fix," said McMurray.

"We did the same thing in scrimmages. We get a good lead and sit on it."

Best then scored his fourth and final goal with 3:57 left to make it 9-6 and give the Falcons some breathing room.

Berry scored the Vikings' final goal about a minute later in an extra-man situation.

"We're a very young team, graduated a lot of seniors and I think it took us the first half to settle in," said Mount Hebron coach Tom Minard.

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