River Hill finally slips through Oakland Mills' zone for 9-5 win

Boys lacrosse

High School

April 09, 2003|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

River Hill is off to one of its best starts, and yesterday's 9-5 victory over visiting Oakland Mills kept the Hawks on a road they hope will lead to the Class 3A state final four.

To achieve that lofty goal, however, the Hawks (5-1 overall, 4-0 Howard County league) must play a lot better than they did against the winless Scorpions.

Oakland Mills, coming off its first losing season in 11 years, plays a zone defense, a style that can make other teams look bad.

"They're very good at mucking it up and slowing down the game so that it's ugly," said Hawks coach Keith Gonsouland. "The zone is designed to make you take bad shots, which we did."

The Hawks took 40 shots and Oakland Mills goalkeeper Nick Smalley made 13 saves.

"I dread playing Oakland Mills because they are good at what they do, and their coach [Ken Hovet] is very underrated. He takes kids who aren't good lacrosse players and gives other teams fits."

Oakland Mills (0-4, 0-3), a Class 1A school, hung with the better-skilled River Hill squad until late in the third quarter.

Hawks sophomore midfielder Corey Thomas, who had three assists, broke a 4-4 tie with 5:06 left in that period.

Sophomore attackman Travis Drown (three goals) made it 6-4 on an assist by Alex Tack with 2:27 left in the period.

And junior midfielder Tim Morgan created River Hill's biggest lead to that point at 7-4 with 1:51 to go in the period.

Hovet said the zone is designed to make other teams become impatient, and he was pleased with that aspect of his team's play. He was unhappy with the transition from defense to offense.

"We couldn't get into a settled offense. They dominated the area from midfield to the box," Hovet said. "They were very aggressive on defense, and their long poles had good stick work. That was the difference in the game. They created quick turnovers about 10 times."

River Hill, whose only loss was to Arundel, 7-5, must play better because the tough part of its schedule is still ahead, including games with Centennial, Mount Hebron and Glenelg.

"We have high expectations and could be a good lacrosse team," Gonsouland said. "But that's not the case right now. We have flashes but need to play consistently."

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