DERWOOD – The boys’ lacrosse game between the Magruder High School and Manchester Valley did not have to go the full length to decide the winner. The Mavericks had no problems defeating the Montgomery County squad, winning 14-2 in the second round of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) playoffs on May 10.
A rain delay turned into an early ending due to lightning, thus terminating the game in the middle of the fourth quarter. The end was merciful, but it was an anticlimactic resolution to Magruder’s resurgent season.
Last season, Magruder had a 1-11 regular season record but managed a playoff win against Rockville before a heartbreaking 9-8 loss against Blake ended their postseason. This year, they posted an 8-4 record, once again ending the postseason with a second-round playoff exit.
“Last year, we went 1-11 in the regular season; this year we went 8-4, so for them to bounce back like that and put in the work. I’m really proud of them. I’m really proud of this season,” said Magruder Head Coach Greg Lyons. “It didn’t end the way that we wanted it to, but everything comes to an end, and we lost to a really good team.”
Magruder was overpowered as they faced a balanced Manchester Valley squad. On the Mavericks half, Magruder was forced to play a possession-heavy game as they struggled to find an opening to score. Magruder’s first shot nearly entered the cage but instead nearly hit the post.
Manchester Valley had no trouble rattling the back of the net. However, Magruder’s possessive style of play had them consistently in pursuit of any player in a white uniform. Senior Magruder goalie Jacob Gemma bolstered his defense in the second quarter with four saves to force Manchester Valley to score a game-low three goals in that quarter.
However, the Mavericks fired off five straight goals in the first quarter which set the tone for the rest of the match. For the first three minutes, Magruder encircled the Manchester Valley net in an unsuccessful search for a goal.
Manchester Valley’s junior attacker Grant Boerner responded by scoring the first two goals in 17 seconds. Boerner would score a game-high five goals, followed only by a fellow Maverick, senior midfielder Cody Upman, with three goals.
“(Boerner) a workhorse,” said Manchester Valley Head Coach John Piper. “Him and his brother, (junior midfielder Garrett Boerner), we call them the wonder twins. They’re grinders; they just don’t stop going. They’re two-year starters for us; they just work and work and work.”
The second quarter was Magruder’s shining moment. Junior attacker Kevin Carroll was the only Colonels player to score in the game, converting both goals in the second quarter. Each goal elicited a raucous cheer from the crowd as they were a small sign that the hopes of a win were still alive.
“The whole team, whole Magruder team, just had to kind of adapt to the way that they were playing and how it’s differently played from teams in Montgomery County,” said Carroll.
Boerner completed his hat trick, and senior Manchester Valley midfielder Reece Small came close with two goals of his own. The explosiveness from the Manchester Valley squad forced Magruder to adapt quickly, and if it was not for key blocks from Gemma, the score could have been higher.
However, Manchester Valley ended any comeback hopes with their play in the third quarter. The Mavericks scored six goals in four minutes while the Colonels remained scoreless during the period. Manchester Valley’s offense was so dominant, it took 43 seconds to score the last three of its six goals in that span.
“It was really a team effort out there…to move the ball and shoot and score,” said Boerner.
Less than five minutes into the fourth quarter, lightning appeared and forced officials to call the match early. The early ending officially knocked Magruder out, while Manchester Valley moved on to face Westminster High School on May 13.