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All-County Lacrosse: Urner a quick learner, Hubs benefit

June 13, 2013|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • North Hagerstown boys lacrosse coach Hammond Urner is the 2013 Herald-Mail Washington County Lacrosse Coach of the Year.
North Hagerstown boys lacrosse coach Hammond Urner is the 2013 Herald-Mail Washington County Lacrosse Coach of the Year.

Hammond Urner’s task as the first-year head coach of North Hagerstown’s varsity boys lacrosse team was far from easy.

Urner took over a squad that went 4-9 in 2012 and lost half its starters to graduation. Midway through this season, the Hubs were 3-5.

Then it all came together as Urner hoped. North reeled off six straight wins — including two playoff victories in one postseason for the first time ever — and finished 9-6, the best record in program history. The Hubs’ .600 winning percentage tied St. Maria Goretti (12-8) for the best by a Washington County boys team.

Urner is the 2013 Herald-Mail Washington County Lacrosse Coach of the Year.

“I think where we really became a team is we had a one-goal OT loss to Frederick and a one-goal win against Boonsboro, and that really kind of galvanized the team,” Urner said. “Before, they were still a lot of individuals, and after that Boonsboro game they came together as a team. Once we started playing in the team concept and the selfish play went away, the team took off and everybody’s stats showed it.”

North started its turnaround with a 15-11 victory over Thomas Johnson, then edged Smithsburg 9-8 in a key MVAL Antietam battle before closing the regular season with decisive victories over South Hagerstown and Boonsboro.

In the playoffs, the Hubs steamrolled winless Seneca Valley, then went on the road and knocked off higher-seeded Rockville 13-10.

“That was a really big step for us,” Urner said. “Rockville was very good, but we matched up good against them. We were really good against teams that liked to get up and down the field and play up-tempo.”

Urner was most pleased by his team’s unselfishness. About 70 percent of the Hubs’ 175 goals this season were assisted, with Drew Brooks (29), Dylan Brown (26), Brandon Brown (22) and Reed Jimenez (17) all averaging more than one assist per game.

“I coached the JV team when a lot of them were freshmen and sophomores, so I knew the style of play that would work best for them and it was just a matter of convincing them that I knew what I was talking about,” Urner said. “I’ve been trying to learn from some of the college coaches in the area, and some of the high school coaches are really good about sharing what works for them, and we were able to apply it. Managing personalities is tough. Getting them all together, it worked well.”

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