BALTIMORE — Finally getting over the finish line with the trophy in hand required a contribution from nearly everyone on the Urbana boys lacrosse team.
There was senior Cullen McKay, a lifelong goalie getting his first chance to start for the varsity team this season, making critical saves down the stretch for the Hawks. Untested for most of the season because his team was typically in front by so much, McKay faced some serious heat and came through in a big way, finishing with nine saves.
There was senior Austin McMahon, a talented midfielding sniper who toils in the large shadows cast by the Jozwiaks and the Kolars, producing three goals on a tough-sledding day for the Urbana offense.
And there was the future of the program, front and center, providing the lift the Hawks needed on the biggest stage they had ever played on. Hunter Bryant held his own in the faceoff circle against Towson’s talented Kyle Ketterman and fellow sophomore Dylan Lange scored the game-winning goal with 3 minutes, 35 seconds to play.
Urbana’s 7-6 victory over Towson in Friday evening’s Class 3A boys lacrosse championship game at Loyola University was very much unlike any the Hawks had played this season.
Normally a fast-breaking team, Urbana had to contend with Towson’s methodical, possession-oriented approach, which slowed the game down on the field but actually sped it up in real time since there were fewer stoppages.
The Hawks actually trailed for much of the game after not facing a deficit all season up until this point. And their defense actually gave the offense a boost, as opposed to the way things normally proceed.
“I mean, this is why we play the sport of lacrosse,” McKay said after Urbana claimed its first state title in lacrosse, joining the Linganore boys (2011 and 2016) as the only Frederick County lacrosse teams to accomplish the feat.
“You are not going to get this type of intensity in football. You are not going to get it in tennis. That’s what is special about this sport. Those last eight minutes, that was insane.”
In that span, the Hawks (12-0) lost their first lead of the game, which was 6-5, produced the turnover that led to the game-winning goal by Lange, off an assist from Jason Kolar, and survived a final onslaught by Towson that involved McKay turning aside a shot from one of Towson’s top offensive threats, Evan Jones.
“It was about toughness in my opinion, grinding through adversity,” said senior midfielder Eric Kolar, who will play lacrosse in college at the University of Maryland. “At some point, we talked about that we were going to hit some adversity.”
It started last season when the coronavirus pandemic wiped out a potential championship season for the Hawks last spring. Then, there was the uncertainty if there would even be playoffs and state championships this season. That decision wasn’t made by the MPSSAA until May 19.
Urbana had to overcome its own dubious history in the state-title game. It had gotten there three times before only to feel the bitter sting of defeat in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Then, Towson scored the first goal Friday a minute and 35 seconds into the game, handing Urbana its first deficit of the season.
The Generals (9-2) led by as many as two goals into the second half and had chances to make their advantage larger, but failed to capitalize on opportunities. Part of that was due to the play of McKay and the Urbana defense.
The Hawks, with an all-hands-on-deck effort, refused to be denied.
“It means the frickin’ world to us,” Eric Kolar said of winning a state title. “We have been working for this since we were freshmen.”
Over the last four years, Urbana has built a juggernaut offense that rivals any in Frederick County history around the talents of the Kolars and the Jozwiaks. The Hawks averaged 17 goals per game this season prior to running into Towson’s stingy defense Friday.
While Eric Kolar will play at Maryland, Jason Kolar (game-winning assist) and Jack and Jason Jozwiak will play Division I lacrosse at Delaware.
Jason Jozwiak finished with two goals Friday, while Jack Jozwiak added one.
“It’s a team game, and when things are not clicking on one side of the field, the other side of the field has to pick it up,” Urbana coach Gavin Donahue said. “That’s what you got to do if you want to win a championship. ... Our guys wanted this more than anything else, and they got it. I couldn’t be happier for them.”