Warriors savor 2-year success

The Havre de Grace boys lacrosse team is hoping its Class 2A-1A regional championship will increase interest in recreation programs

Notebook

May 24, 2006|By JEFF SEIDEL | JEFF SEIDEL,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Havre de Grace boys lacrosse coach Jason Alford had a party for his team last Friday night. The players got together, had a cookout, laughed and enjoyed themselves.

The Warriors had reason to celebrate, having beaten county rival Joppatowne, 7-4, earlier in the week to win the Class 2A-1A South regional title, the first for the program in school history.

Havre de Grace advanced to the final four, where it lost to Loch Raven, 12-6, on Saturday at South Carroll. But Alford wasn't too upset. Even with the loss, the Warriors ended the season 14-5 and completed a successful two-year stretch.

Havre de Grace went 10-7 last year and made it to the regional final after the school previously had never won a playoff game. Now the Warriors have raised the bar a little more.

"It's just a great time right now," Alford said. "We're having a lot of fun."

Oddly enough, Alford said one of the best things that happened was when North Harford routed his Warriors, 16-2, in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference title game. Alford took something from that game that changed his outlook.

"North Harford came out and didn't care who they were playing," Alford said. "They came out and they were fired up and they were executing everything they needed to."

After that loss, Alford said he began pounding home a similar message to his team - get fired up and execute in every game.

The Warriors did just that. Sophomore goalie Grant Steelman continued his strong play, as he had a save ratio of 71 percent and consistently made spectacular plays.

Seniors Nick Kahoe, Christian Schafer and Zach Steelman, Grant's older brother, gave the Warriors plenty of punch in their attack. Kahoe is the team's top scorer with 56 goals and 15 assists for 71 points.

Schafer had 27 goals and 24 assists, and Zach Steelman added 25 goals and 13 assists. Schafer's numbers are even more impressive because he missed six games.

Alford will be losing 12 seniors from this team, but the coach is hopeful that his team's success can spark interest in local programs to get kids playing the sport at a younger age in and around Havre de Grace.

"The recreation program at Havre de Grace is growing, and all those rec kids come out ... and they're going to remember that championship," Alford said. "That's what they're going to strive for."

Havre de Grace sophomore Drew Monath said getting this far will help the Warriors in the next few years since they now understand the feeling of being in big games.

"I'm sure it boosts everyone's confidence," Monath said. "We're not underdogs anymore."

Hawks come up short

The North Harford boys lacrosse team took the Class 3A-2A North regional title before falling in the state final four.

The Hawks topped Fallston, 8-5, in the regional final, but then suffered a tough loss in the state semifinals, as Mount Hebron scored 2:15 into sudden-death overtime for a 10-9 victory last Friday at Reservoir in Howard County.

North Harford wasted a 4-0 lead as Mount Hebron rallied. What made it even tougher was that North Harford's Zach Buecker scored a dramatic goal with 0.8 of a second left to force the extra periods.

North Harford finished 17-3.

Diamond updates

The Harford Tech and C. Milton Wright baseball teams advanced to their respective regional finals, but the Harford Tech softball team didn't fare as well in its first regional playoff game.

Harford Tech baseball pitcher Josh Williams threw four shutout innings and the Cobras banged out 18 hits en route to a 21-0 victory over Pikesville in the Class 1A North regional semifinals. Williams had a triple to help his cause as the Cobras had little trouble with the Baltimore County school in a five-inning game.

The Cobras lost to North East-Cecil in the UCBAC final before falling to Bohemia Manor, 9-8, in Friday's regional final.

C. Milton Wright used Nick Bisesi's one-hitter to surprise then-No. 14 Parkville, 2-0 in a Class 4A North regional semifinal.

The Mustangs pushed across runs in the third and fourth, and that was enough for Bisesi.

Harford Tech's softball team entered the Class 1A North regional playoffs as the No. 1 seed, receiving a bye into the second round, where Rising Sun rallied to pull off a 10-7 upset in eight innings.

Harford Tech was coming off an emotional 3-2 victory over No. 4 C. Milton Wright in the UCBAC championship game. But the Cobras jumped ahead early and then couldn't hold on despite scoring a run in the seventh to force extra innings.

Rising Sun scored three in the eighth to end Harford Tech's season.

Award winners

Michelle Peck of Bel Air and Anthony Lester of C. Milton Wright won the Al Cesky Scholarship Awards last week. The two seniors were picked at the 21st annual dinner for senior athletes and each received a $5,000 scholarship.

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