Bel Air girls' lacrosse head coach Kristen Barry has a simple philosophy when it comes to setting her nonconference schedule: "If you want to be the best, you have to play the best."
Through the early-season schedule, the Bobcats (6-2) have shown they can compete with some of the area's best teams.
Bel Air opened the season with six consecutive wins, including a victory against John Carroll of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland. Now, the Bobcats are ready to tackle conference play in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.
"We want to build our strengths and determine our weaknesses, and the best way to do that is to challenge yourself," said Barry, who is now in her third year as head coach. "The girls have faced challenges and deficits that have bolstered their confidence and resolve in close matches. They've learned to stay positive, keep their teammates up, and trust that they can hang with top teams. Conference games and playoff games are physically and emotionally tough ... that is ultimately what we are preparing for."
Julia Henry (Michigan) leads Bel Air with 28 goals, while Anna Farley (Georgetown) has been a "senior quarterback" for the offense with 21 goals. Juniors Elizabeth Hillman (30 draw controls) and Lauren Asher (26 ground balls and 17 draw controls) have played well, controlling the midfield. Senior goalie Molly Loughlin has also come up big, with 55 saves through eight games.
Hereford Boys' Lacrosse Flexes Early-Season Muscle
The Hereford boys' lacrosse team has traditionally leaned on its defense and transition game to generate offense.
This year, though, the attack has created its own scoring opportunities. Furthermore, the offense has developed a swagger and has challenged the Bulls' defenders with spirited battles in practice.
Hereford has opened the season at 7-3. The losses have come against area powers McDonogh, Gilman and Severna Park, which recently knocked off Severn. The Bulls handed Broadneck its first loss of the season, 9-5, April 15. Hereford then picked up another big 12-11 overtime win against Towson April 18.
The Bulls have shown they can play with any team.
"Kids know we can play with any of the elite programs in the state, and quite honestly, based on the results of those games, we can play with anyone, anywhere," head coach Sal Picataggi said. "Our schedule is purposely tough so we can improve through the year. We hope to set the standard for the county, and we realize we are a lot of county teams' big game. We enjoy it."
PNC Lacrosse Spotlight: Severn Attackman Michael Lamon
Severn senior attackman Michael Lamon should keep the Admirals in the hunt for a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association "A" conference title. Lamon helped Severn reach the conference semifinals last year when he finished with 58 goals and 35 assists. This season, Lamon has continued to create matchup problems, and Severn is off to a 9-3 start. Lamon has committed to Penn.
PressBox: How has Severn gotten better throughout the out-of-conference schedule?
Mike Lamon: I think we have learned a lot as a team through the out-of-conference schedule. We've had some tough games and learned how to play with a lead and from behind. It had prepared us for the tough schedule in the MIAA.
PB: As a senior, have you taken on more of a leadership role this season?
ML: Serving as a captain with Andrew Volk, Ben Bedard, Stephen Miller and Charlie Olmert has been a very special experience, and we have all stepped up as leaders this year. There are a lot of young guys who contribute to our team this year, and I feel like they definitely look up to us and respect us as leaders.
PB: How has your game improved throughout your four years at Severn?
ML: I have learned a lot from my coaches and teammates over my years at Severn. Coming in as a freshman, [I] definitely had a lot to learn, and competing in the MIAA for four years has definitely helped me. I think the most important thing has been becoming a multi-dimensional player.
PressBox Regional Power Rankings
4. Boys' Latin
5. Calvert Hall
6. St. Paul's
7. Severna Park
2. Good Counsel
4. Notre Dame Prep
5. Marriotts Ridge
6. Garrison Forest
7. Manchester Valley
8. Glenelg Country
9. Archbishop Spalding