URBANA — Gavin Donahue expects precise execution from his players. And when he doesn’t get it, the Urbana boys lacrosse coach will sternly let them know about it.
But even the demanding Donahue will let his players freelance a little bit on the field — when the time is right.
“You kind of have to let them go a little bit — to have fun and not always have a leash on them to do exactly what you want them to do,” Donahue said Friday at Urbana. “They’ve got good enough stick skills, and they know the appropriate time they can do something like that and execute it.”
Jack and Jason Jozwiak had just showed off some of those elite stick skills in the Hawks’ 18-0 win over Montgomery Blair in the Class 4A North Section II semifinals.
Shortly after halftime, lightning led to two 30-minute stoppages. During the second one, with 8 minutes, 32 seconds left in the third quarter, both head coaches mutually agreed to end the contest.
Top-seeded Urbana (16-0), which will host No. 2 seed Sherwood in the Section II final Monday, held a 9-0 lead early in the second quarter when Jack Jozwiak carried the ball behind the cage and saw his open brother in the crease. Jack Jozwiak held his stick shoulder high and faked an overhand pass before abruptly turning the stick and making a behind-the-back pass to Jason Jozwiak, who promptly buried one of his six goals.
It’s a pass he has been practicing ever since he was in the fifth grade.
“Even though we’re in the playoffs, it’s still [just] a game,” said Jack Jozwiak, who finished with three goals and seven assists in addition to recording his 100th point of the season. “We’re trying to have fun with each other and compete to the best of our ability.”
On two occasions, Jason Jozwiak, who also had four assists, received the ball in the crease and faked going high on Blair goalie Jossue Garcia before scoring with a low shot.
“We’re always in the backyard practicing things like that with each other in case we do get an opportunity to do that in a game,” Jack Jozwiak said.
The Jozwiaks, sophomores who joined the Hawks this year after playing at Calvert Hall as freshmen, have played with high school teammates Eric and Jason Kolar on the club lacrosse scene. Some on the team, Jason Kolar said, were caught off-guard by some of Jack Jozwiak’s no-look passes and didn’t catch the ball.
“We’ve kind of gained that chemistry, where you know it’s coming, and you’ve got to be ready for it,” said Jason Kolar, who scored seven goals on Friday. “It’s a quick dish type of thing.
“We’ve picked it up so fast. Everybody’s really collaborated really fast, and it’s showing out.”
Langley Smaha had a hand in allowing the Jozwiaks to maximize their enjoyment, winning 18 of 20 faceoffs. With Urbana bossing possession early in the game, the Blazers first attempted a shot with 50 seconds left in the first quarter. Jiggy Smaha also played a role in limiting Blair’s scoring opportunities, causing three turnovers and scooping up three ground balls.
Dominic Savoy caused two turnovers, and on one of them, the Hawks showed off their lightning-quick transition game. Within seconds, Urbana scored, getting one long pass from Savoy and another from Jiggy Smaha as Jason Jozwiak scored on a close-range shot.
Brendan Schmitz, who scored his 100th career point, and Grayson Buki each scored a goal while Noah Poss and Austin McMahon notched one assist apiece. Goalie Kevin Medina made four saves.
“I thought we executed pretty well — not a lot of dropped passes, the fundamental stuff we got down,” Jason Kolar said. “Everyone’s looking inside and sharing the ball well.”