When South River’s boys lacrosse team takes the field at UMBC Stadium Wednesday afternoon to face Westminster High in the 4A/3A State Championship, they won’t be playing just for themselves—they’ll be playing for an entire community.
In the final matchup of what could be an undefeated season for the team, head coach Paul Noone told Patch “the boys” know what they need to do, and that the game is a culmination of the community’s effort.
Hundreds of young kids play lacrosse in youth leagues throughout the region in hopes of one day playing for a state championship, but for the 34 athletes on South River’s boys lacrosse team, it’s time to leave it all on the field, Noon said.
“I’m probably a little bit more nervous than the kids,” Noone said, who already won a state championship in 2009 with the Seahawks.
The coach admitted he and his staff haven’t had much time to scout the Westminster Owls but said at this point in the playoffs, it’s about “playing your own game.”
“The games come so fast, it’s almost like we don’t have time to game plan. We barely have enough time game plan for our own team,” Noone said. “We need to focus on what we do. If somebody beats us at what we do, then we’ll take that. We’re focusing on what our strengths are.”
Defense Wins Championships
Prior to heading into the playoffs, the Seahawks relied on defense to protect its undefeated season and pursue a championship. It’s a strategy they hope to continue against Westminster.
Stephen Hincks was named to the 2012 Coaches’ All-County team and leads the defense that allowed only 84 goals throughout the season. The defense, according to Noone, actually motivates the offense too.
“Watching the defense do its job, it’s an emotional lifter for our offense. We tend to put a lot of pressure on our defense to keep us in the game, but our offense feeds of it,” Noone said.
Despite having a team that contains All-American midfielder Ben Chisolm and other standout attackers like Jon Carr, Noone said the team needs a holistic performance from the entire offense.
“We don’t have one or two guys we can just depend on. We need a team,” the coach said. “We’re relying on other kinds to depend on beside Chisolm and Carr. Chisolm scored six goals [in the playoff semifinals] but then [Bel Air] shut him down.”
Playing for the Hometown
Regardless of the outcome Wednesday at 4 p.m., the Seahawks will be able to look back proudly at the progress of the program, Noone said.
“If you look at other programs like Severna Park, they had The Green Hornets program for the longest time. The kids now are coming to South River and [Crofton, Davidsonville and South River] recreation leagues are putting our quality kids,” Noone said. “With the program the way it is, a lot of kids are choosing to go to South River High instead of a private school.”
With a young, integrated squad and a perfect season on the line, South River’s boys lacrosse team have the potential Wednesday to not only define their high school careers, but also continue the traditional of excellence for the South River athletic community.
"We’ll do the best we can and hope that we can bring this thing back home to South River," Noone said.