Mother Nature insisted on unseasonably frigid temperatures for Arundel High School’s boys’ lacrosse showdown with Annapolis on April 3.
No matter. The Wildcats were the ones bringing the heat.
Continuing the team’s scorching start, Cam Cetrone and Logan Fate scored three goals apiece, Brett Malamphy won 13 of 16 faceoffs, eight different Arundel players scored or assisted, and the Wildcats moved to 5-0 on the season with an 11-3 drubbing of the host Panthers.
Two days later, the Wildcats thumped visiting Broadneck, 13-6, getting four goals from Cetrone, three from Tyler Young, two from Fate, 17 of 24 faceoffs from Malamphy and 15 saves by Andrew Jones.
The Wildcats have posted double-digit goals in every game this season, notching previous victories over North County, Mt. St. Joe’s, Easton and Queen Anne’s.
Arundel’s play this season speaks for itself: no one should be taking this team lightly.
“These guys have worked hard for what they’re trying to do,” said Head Coach Kevin Necessary following the Wildcats’ dominant win over the Panthers. “They worked hard in the offseason. They put in the time.”
As it has all spring, the Arundel offense was clicking against Annapolis. The Panthers attempted to slow the pace of the game by showing a 3-3 zone, but the Wildcats kept the ball moving, stayed patient and looked for the right opportunity. Goals by Cetrone, Malamphy and Fate (3) had the Wildcats up 5-1 at half.
“I think you saw it today, we zipped the ball around as good as any team,” said Necessary. “Our offensive coordinator, Ross Fate, is doing a terrific job of getting these guys to spread out. And what he’s really got them buying into is the team concept: it’s going to be somebody new every day, whoever it is, it’s going to be their day. You can see that out there.”
To say the Wildcats cruised to the win in the second half would fail to give them enough credit. Having already run the Annapolis defense ragged through much of the first half, the Wildcats looked even more intense in the third and fourth quarters. Whenever the Panthers were able to make a save or jar the ball loose, they were met promptly by a relentless swarm of Wildcats fighting to get it back. The Panthers struggled all game to get the ball out of their defensive half of the field.
“We work hard on the ride,” said Necessary, whose Wildcats posted a 40-14 ground ball advantage against Annapolis. “Let’s be honest: what’s riding? It’s effort. They’re doing a good job of just giving effort all over the field. They understand that’s what it takes.”
Cetrone led the charge in making a nuisance for the Panther defense.
“In practice we focus on riding the ball a lot,” said Cetrone. “We like to hustle and get extra possessions.”
With the offense looking sharp and never giving up on a play, Malamphy made sure to give his side every possible opportunity by dominating the faceoff circle. The junior is winning over 75 percent of faceoffs on the season, and his 30 of 39 faceoff wins in the two games against Annapolis and Broadneck allowed the Wildcats to repeatedly stack the odds in their favor.
“I can’t say enough about Brett Malamphy in the faceoff circle,” said Necessary. “He’s a dominant guy in there, and it helps to go make-it-take-it.”
Additional goals by Evan Jones, Reece Sullivan and Aaron Snyder and six saves by Chris Elvidge rounded out the Wildcats’ emphatic win over Annapolis, and Billy Nolan and Jeremy Sullivan notched goals to help Arundel dispatch Broadneck.
Necessary says a major component of the team’s early success has been the leadership of its seniors.
“Senior leadership has been outstanding this year, all season,” he said. “The underclassmen have done a great job following. They get it. They’re right there with them, and they work hard every day.”
Necessary emphasized that the team has a long way to go, but he believes he has a special group.
“I am proud of their start. They’ve had a great start, but that’s all it’s been,” said Necessary. “I mean, I love coaching, I love it every single year, but I can’t remember a year when I literally come off the practice field happy every single day. These guys try hard. They drop passes, they mess up plays, they do all that kind of stuff, but they give effort, and if the effort is there, we’re going to be able to compete for things down the line.”