HAGERSTOWN — The North Hagerstown boys lacrosse team had little trouble with the Frederick Cadets, never trailing in a 12-7 victory in the first round of the Maryland Class 3A-2A West tournament.
The Hubs (5-8) led 2-1 after the first quarter, then turned on the jets, scoring six goals in the second — led by Zach Eppard’s hat trick.
“We came in assuming that the teams would be evenly matched based on record,” said North coach Dave Tallant. “We knew we had to be tenacious on ground balls, keep our heads in the game and control the ball.”
That ball control was personified by Eppard, who easily darted through Frederick’s defense to create his three scores.
“Lacrosse is all about explosion,” said Eppard. “A good cut can lead to a goal, an assist, a good hit. A good cut can get you anywhere.”
Drew Brooks played the part of Eppard’s wingman, scoring two goals and adding an assist.
“We had a lot of motivation in this game. Frederick’s one of our bigger opponents,” said Brooks. “We had good ball movement and awareness. This was a good win.”
Frederick outscored North 2-1 in the third quarter and 3-2 in the fourth, but by then it was too little, too late. Vincent Naylor had a hat trick for the Cadets.
With the win, North advances to face top-seed Middletown — which received a first-round bye — on Saturday. Tallant knows the challenge his team faces, having lost to the Knights 18-1 on Monday.
“To be the best, you have to beat the best, and we consider Middletown one of the best,” Tallant said. “We look forward to the challenge.”