Dulaney vs. Severna Park: pairing fit for a champion

From The Cover

High Schools

May 23, 2006|By MILTON KENT

As team captain, the only way Severna Park goalie Mike Gvozden could make sense of the Falcons' 14-13 double-overtime loss to Dulaney in last year's 4A-3A boys lacrosse final was if they could get one more crack at the Lions.

So, while some of his teammates may have wanted Westminster to win last Saturday's semifinal over Dulaney, Gvozden was not so secretly pulling for Dulaney.

"Westminster's a great team, but there's nobody I'd rather play. Nobody," Gvozden said. "Everybody was like, `We want Westminster to win.' I was like, `I don't care if Dulaney beats them 40-1. I want to play Dulaney and no one else.'"

And from across the field and around the Beltway, Dulaney's goalie, Geoff Hebert, knew exactly what his counterpart was thinking.

"Every year, it's a close game. It's a one-goal game, an overtime game, every year. It's huge. It's what we look forward to every season," Hebert said. "We know it's coming. We know if we do our thing and they do their thing, we'll meet again."

In what has become as traditional an event on the May calendar as the Preakness, the Indy 500 and Aunt Henrietta's corn pudding at the annual Memorial Day family picnic, No. 10 Dulaney and No. 8 Severna Park will meet tomorrow night at UMBC for the seventh straight year in the state lacrosse tournament.

Each of the past six meetings has come at the semifinal point or later. Dulaney has won four of those games, all of them for state championships. In all, the Lions have won five of the past seven 4A-3A titles, with Severna Park grabbing the other two.

It would be just an interesting coincidence if it were just that the two schools have gone round each other every year. That they have played out fabulous drama in the process makes the series all the more compelling.

The six previous games have been decided by a total of eight goals, with neither team winning any game by more than two. Additionally, three of the past four games have required double overtime to be settled.

Last year, Severna Park erased a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the score, before Dulaney's Neal Barthelme scored with just over two minutes to go in regulation. However, the Falcons' Eric Lusby connected from 18 yards out with 54 seconds remaining to tie the game again. Hebert blocked a shot from Ben Hunt just before the horn to force overtime.

In the second extra session, Barthelme, who scored four goals and assisted on five others, took a feed from Ryan Hoff with 3:12 left in the period to end Severna Park's 11-game winning streak and give the Lions a fifth state championship since 2000. (Included is a title win over Arundel in 2001.)

The Falcons briefly contended that a Dulaney player had put the ball into the webbing of his stick with his hands and were complaining when Barthelme's shot whizzed by Gvozden, but that just adds a little more spice to an already bubbling stew.

In other words, you might be able to get away with arriving late, but you certainly can't leave early.

"I just think that each team respects the other so much," said Dulaney coach Gary Schreiber. "They just really go at each other. It's a great match every year. I hope it is this year. I hope we can win it. It's going to be a good game. I know they [the Falcons] are very talented. They're deep and they are talented this year."

Obviously, no one should confuse the Severna Park-Dulaney lacrosse rivalry, which will get an additional boost with the girls teams meeting at 6 p.m. also for a state title, with more ballyhooed pairings as the Ravens-Steelers, Duke-North Carolina, or Red Sox-Yankees.

Tomorrow's games are more important. While college rivalries carry the same kind of emotion, and professional meetings are played out with the highest levels of athleticism, they are revisited each season.

However, matches like the ones between the Lions and the Falcons have played over the past six years combine the best of the two, skill and passion, among kids for whom nights like tomorrow may mark the one time in their lives they ever get to play a game that important.

"The thing that makes such a great rivalry and I even think it's a better rivalry than Severna Park-Broadneck in terms of lacrosse, is that both teams, when they play each other, the reason they're playing each other is because they've worked so hard all season long," Gvozden said. "They pour a whole year's worth of emotion into one game. That's pretty much why it's a one-goal game."

Of course, there would be a prominent space in either school's display case for a trophy that was earned against another school. Championships are too hard to win to turn your nose up at because the team you expected to beat didn't show up.

But, for Dulaney and Severna Park, lining up against each other at this time of the year with a championship on the line seems as right as having an extra helping of corn pudding.

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