With just under 16 minutes to play Friday evening and her team protecting a four-goal lead, Cedar Shapiro, a freshman attack for the Frederick High girls lacrosse team, jogged into the corner in the opposing end of the field.
The Cadets were intent on running time off the clock in their Class 3A West Section II semifinal against visiting North Hagerstown.
No player for the Hubs came out to challenge Shapiro in the corner. So, she just stood there toggling the ball in the web of her stick.
After a minute had passed, North Hagerstown continued to sit back. No player came out to challenge Shapiro. So, she just stood in the corner with the ball.
Another minute passed. Then another, still without any action. Everyone was essentially standing in place on the field.
With 5 minutes, 38 seconds remaining, after roughly 11 minutes of completely static action and the folks in the stands wondering what they were watching, North Hagerstown pulled its players off the field.
Frederick was awarded a 12-8 victory in what technically will go down as a suspended game. The Cadets (7-6), who are the defending champions in the section, advance to face the winner of Saturday’s game between top-seeded Tuscarora (10-3) and fourth-seeded Linganore (3-7).
Asked what the issue was right after the teams came out of the hand-shake line, North Hagerstown coach Rick Aleshire said, “What the issue was ... he quit playing.”
Aleshire was referring to Frederick coach Brandon Brewbaker.
“The issue was he quit playing. I am not going to have my girls run half of the field when he was supposed to be coming to my goal. So, that’s the issue.”
Pressed further, Aleshire said, “Did you see where he put his girls? Do you think I am going to bring my girls out of my arc to come up here and guard that. The lacrosse game is played around the eight-meter arc. He decided to do four-corner basketball.”
And, with that, Aleshire abruptly ended the interview.
“That’s all I’ve got to say,” he said.
Presented with Aleshire’s assertion in a separate interview, Brewbaker said, “He was upset because we wouldn’t come attack the goal. But he wouldn’t come out and play defense on us.”
Asked if he was surprised that no North Hagerstown player came out to challenge Shapiro with the ball, Brewbaker said, “I am a little stunned they didn’t come out on us. But, I mean, to each his own.”
Had a North Hagerstown player come out to challenge Shapiro, Brewbaker said, the Cadets would have been forced to respond accordingly.
“I have never seen it,” Brewbaker said of a coach pulling him team off the field over disdain for a style of play. “Not just in lacrosse, in all of the other games I have seen over the years, I have never seen it.
“When we had the officials meeting [during a timeout], the officials said, ‘Are you going to put your team back on the field?’ [Aleshire] said, ‘If he attacks our goal.’ You know, like I said, the one time, we went into our spread [offense], they came out, and then we attacked.
“That was the thought. We wanted to keep the clock running instead of it stopping and get out of here before this storm hits.”
He later added, “We were just stalling the ball. It would have been no different if we were passing it around in a circle.”
Some of the Frederick players were equally surprised by what had transpired.
“The coach pulled their team off,” said Frederick senior attack Amanda Effland, who scored two goals. “I did not think he would do that.”
Standing right next to Effland after the game was senior midfielder Maggie Nealley, who finished with a goal and an assist.
“They weren’t even down by that much,” Nealley said.
Frederick jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. However, over the final 16:21 of the first half, the Hubs had closed that deficit to one. The score was 8-7 at halftime.
“We were waiting for them to play defense,” Nealley said. “They were just holding back.”
The Cadets said the bizarre ending did not detract from their victory.
Before running into the corner and bleeding the clock, Shapiro had three goals and two assists. Junior defender Danyeal Bryant had three goals. Junior attack Dede Mott finished with two goals, while junior midfielder Kim Portillo added a goal.
“Any type of win is satisfying,” Brewbaker said. “We are going back to the section final.”