Hereford's Cory Nettleton has the ball knocked away by… (Doug Kapustin / Photo for…)
A balanced attack and sturdy play on defense led the No. 9 Hereford boys lacrosse team to an impressive 9-4 win over visiting South River in a game that showcased two defending state champions Monday night.
Senior attackmen Rustin Bryant led the way offensively for the two-time defending Class 3A-2A state champ Bulls, scoring the game's first two goals on his way to a three-goal, one-assist performance. Freshman Joe Seider added two goals and an assist, with Vince DePaola and Jason Andrews both scoring twice as Hereford improved to 9-1 on the season.
South River, which claimed last year's 4A-3A title, fell to 6-2.
The Bulls took a quick 3-0 lead before South River settled in to close the gap to 4-2 late in the first half. But DePaolo scored with six seconds left to send the Bulls into halftime with momentum and a 5-2 lead. After Bryant scored his third goal of the game in the third quarter, DePaolo, Seider and Andrews scored fourth-quarter goals to build a 9-2 advantage late in the game.
"It was real nice to play four good quarters," Hereford coach Brian King said. "We played a lot less defense and made some shots. We know they play some great lacrosse in Anne Arundel, so this was like a natural rivalry with us both winning last year, and we're grateful [South River] came up here."
The Seahawks, which lost a number of key standouts from last year's team to graduation, looked at the game as a chance to see how they stacked up against a perennial power among the public schools. Despite the setback, coach Paul Noone found positives in moving forward.
"Hereford plays fast and smart, and they're very well-coached," he said. "It puts things in perspective where we're at right now. We don't like coming all the way up here and getting whipped like this, but it shows where we're sitting. I like this team — we got some good kids that are working hard."
Goals: SR — Papetti 2, Lapaglia, Luiza; H — R. Bryant 3, DePaola 2, Andrews 2, J. Seider 2.
Assists: SR — Lee, Pappas; H — R. Bryant, Dusek, J. Seider.
Saves: SR — Willett 5, Sumpter 5; H — Yelle 1.
Half: H, 5-2