Urbana leaned on the special connection of twin brothers, what the Hawks view as a hockey assist and a ball-hungry defense that routinely forces turnovers.
It all added up to a victory that extended beyond the boys lacrosse program.
Jason Jozwiak scored off an assist from his twin brother, Jack, with 1 minute, 47 second remaining in overtime Tuesday at Linganore, giving the Hawks a 12-11 win over the Lancers.
Urbana had became just the second county team in the past four years to beat the Lancers — and the first to do so on Linganore’s home field since the Hawks did so on April 9, 2015. That game also went to overtime, with the Hawks prevailing 9-8. That occurred before Urbana goalie Kevin Medina played a high school game. On top of that, he and all of the seniors in his school had also never seen Urbana’s basketball or football teams beat Linganore.
“It’s our first win over Linganore, and it feels amazing,” said Medina, who finished with 13 saves. “I don’t know how else to describe it.”
It seemed as if the Hawks, who led 11-5 after three quarters, wouldn’t have to sweat out the victory. But thanks in large part to Lancers standout faceoff man Will Coletti, Linganore bossed possession in the final period and rattled off six unanswered goals, with Roman LaRocco taking a feed from Cole Blanche in the goal crease and whipping the ball past Medina for the game-tying goal with 10 seconds left in regulation.
“What’s important is to stay together and getting focused because it’s really easy to get down in situations where they come back and they have all the momentum,” Medina said. “But we stayed together, and we stayed strong, and we came back.”
Medina made a big save on a hard close-range shot by Coletti with 3:24 left in the four-minute overtime period, and sophomore Ethan Edwards caused a turnover that helped set up the Hawks’ game-winning possession.
The Jozwiak brothers credited Brendan Schmitz for making what Hawks coach Gavin Donahue refers to as a hockey assist — the pass that leads to an assist in lacrosse. Schmitz, possessing on the right side of the cage and being watched closely by the Lancers’ Jon Wheat, found Jack Jozwiak on the opposite side of the cage.
“We’ve just been in this situation a lot,” said Jack Jozwiak, who finished with four assists. “We’ve been playing lacrosse for a long time.”
Jason Jozwiak, standing next to his brother, then provided an addendum to that thought.
“Plus, we’re twins, and we have that connection there,” he said.
They also have the benefit of having been in a similar situation earlier in the season. Urbana has defeated eight of its opponents by at least 10 goals, but in a nonconference game at Howard County power Glenelg, they trailed by two goals in the first half before eventually pulling out a 13-11 victory.
“You’ve got to be battle-tested, not just for an in-conference opponent like [Linganore] but also heading into the playoffs and [possibly facing] the likes of Howard, Severna Park, Churchill,” Donahue said.
Urbana also has the luxury of depth and balance with the likes of Schmitz and the Kolar twins, Eric and Jason, all able to either set up teammates or score themselves.
Jason Jozwiak finished with two goals and three assists, while Schmitz (one assist), Eric Kolar and Jason Kolar each scored three times. Tyler Harper added another goal.
“We all share the ball,” Jason Jozwiak said. “Nobody’s worried about their own individual stats. We’re all worried about getting the job done, getting the win.”
They also have a defense that can take the ball away from opponents quite often, forcing 11 turnovers against the Lancers (8-2). It was just enough to hold off a Linganore team that had been stymied for most of the night.
For much of the game, LaRocco had more than one defender draped over him, and after the third period, LaRocco could be heard pleading with his teammates for help. He got it from the likes of Cooper Fabry and Billy Higgins, who each scored twice in the final period.
Higgins finished with three goals, and Coletti won 25 of 26 faceoffs.
“I’m proud of them because it takes a lot of heart to play in a game like this and come back from a deficit like that,” Lancers coach Rich Thompson said. “If I have anything to say, it’s that I’m proud. I was very proud to be their coach in that fourth quarter.”