SMITHSBURG — The top-seeded Smithsburg Leopards advanced to the semifinals of the Maryland Class 2A-1A West boys lacrosse tournament with an 11-6 victory over Manchester Valley on Saturday.
Smithsburg (12-2), which had a first-round bye, first had to overcome an early scare.
Manchester Valley took control of the game from the opening face-off, playing strong defense and forcing Smithsburg into eight bad shots on goal. Meanwhile, the Mavericks needed only two shots — from Colton Wilder and Brendan Krivak — to take a 2-0 lead.
However, like a cat toying with a mouse, the Leopards scored five goals in the second quarter to take control.
“It was nice to get this first one,” said Smithsburg midfielder Cullan Ganley. “We started off slow, but we kept our heads in and stayed with it.”
Kevin Grimm and Ganley scored within seconds of each other to tie the game at 2 with 10 minutes to go in the first half. Grimm added a goal and Ganley finished with a second-quarter hat trick to give Smithsburg a 5-2 halftime lead.
“Our strength is our attack. It has been all year,” said Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich. “Our midfield sets them up and they just go from there.”
That attack didn’t let up in the second half, as Ganley scored two more times for a game-high five goals. Grimm scored in the third quarter to earn a hat trick and Dillan Harbaugh had a hat trick of his own to round out Smithsburg’s scoring.
Smithsburg will host either North Carroll or Winters Mill in a semifinal match Monday.
Dietrich said either of those teams will present a challenge to his Leopards.
“We have trouble starting and playing consistently,” Dietrich said. “We have to play the entire four quarters, especially in the regional semifinals.”
“North Carroll and Winters Mill are tough teams,” Ganley said. “But if we play the whole game, we can stay in against anyone.”