Putting the bow on what could be argued is the finest boys lacrosse season in Glenelg history didn't come easy for the No. 6 Gladiators in Tuesday's Class 2A-1A state title game against surprising Patterson Mill.
It wasn't until sophomore midfielder Anthony Pagnotta won his 11th faceoff in 13 tries — pushing it forward to help erase the final 18 seconds — that the Gladiators finally secured a 5-4 victory over the stubborn Huskies to bring home the program's third state title.
Freshman attackman Mikey Wynne's second goal — coming off older brother Nick's third assist of the game — proved to be the game-winner with 4:54 left to play. It gave Glenelg a 5-2 lead at the time, but the Huskies followed with two goals from Josh Wilson to cause some anxious final seconds for the Gladiators.
"After he got the ball, we knew all we had to do was hold it for 10 seconds and we had states — it felt great," said Nick Wynne, who finished the season with a team-high 63 goals and 47 assists.
Glenelg (19-1) rattled off 19 straight victories after a season-opening loss to Fallston — including wins over defending state champions Hereford (6-5 on April 23) and Severna Park (9-6 on May 10). It left a difficult question for Glenelg's seventh-year coach Josh Hatmaker, who was asked to compare this year's team with his 2008 senior-laden squad, which finished 18-0.
"It's kind of like apples and oranges, and I'll answer that question when these guys are seniors," said Hatmaker, who noted that this year's roster is dominated by underclassmen.
For the Gladiators, getting past Patterson Mill (13-6) proved equally tough.
The Huskies, in their third varsity season, effectively slowed the game when they had the ball, got 10 saves from junior goalie Jay Kuhn and showed resilience on attack in the second half to stay close.
With the game tied at 1 at the half, the Gladiators got goals from Mikey Wynne and John Milani 32 seconds apart midway through the third quarter to claim a 3-1 lead. After Wilson closed the gap to 3-2 with 9:03 to play in the fourth quarter, Glenelg answered with goals from Milani and Mikey Wynne for a 5-2 advantage with 4:32 to play.
"It was definitely a gutsy type of game," Hatmaker said. "Our kids have been in these type of games all year long. … It's that type of team we have, gutsy kids."
Patterson Mill coach Jason Bellamy had similar thoughts for his young team's effort. The Huskies, who reached the state semifinals last year and took it one step further this season, had only four seniors on the roster.
"I can't be more proud of their effort today — nobody anywhere gave them a chance today," he said. "We worked on the game plan the past couple days, these guys spent time in the film room, they spent time at practice preparing. They came out and executed exactly what we asked them to do and we were in it the entire way — we just came up a little short."