The Urbana High School boys’ lacrosse team’s eight-game unbeaten streak was in jeopardy against Frederick County rival Linganore on April 16. Up 11-5 going into the fourth quarter, the Hawks found themselves locked in an 11-11 tie at the end of regulation. But they didn’t flinch. The overtime win—and being battle tested—will likely end up paying major dividends as Urbana enters the final stretch of the season and playoffs.
“Even going into that overtime, when they had a five- or six-goal run, we all just kept our heads up in the huddle; we knew we were going to get the win,” said sophomore Jack Jozwiak, who leads the team with 59 points off 30 goals and 29 assists (through nine games). “The biggest thing for us is we all just really trust in each other’s ability to score and make plays, so none of us thinks we have to do too much when the ball is in our stick. I think that trusting each other and going through dogfights with each other is going to make us a better team.”
Urbana extended its winning streak to 11 with sound victories over Southern and Arundel, which both hail from lacrosse powerhouse Anne Arundel County. But early season wins over three-time state champion and seven-time runner-up Glenelg (Howard County) and two-time defending state runner-up Winston Churchill (Montgomery) had confirmed what the Hawks entered the season believing—that they’re capable of beating anyone.
Despite being a fairly young offense, led in large part by two sets of sophomore twins—one of which only transferred in this year—Urbana’s offense has operated like well-oiled machinery. With 196 goals, the Hawks are scoring an average of 17.8 per game and they’re not coming from just one or two players. Through nine games, 14 players scored at least one goal and five of them tallied 18 goals or more. Sophomore Jason Kolar has racked up a team-high 37 goals, followed by classmates Jack Jozwiak and Jason Jozwiak (26), twin brother Eric (20) and senior Brendan Schmitz (18).
The Hawks’ offensive success has also hinged on unselfishness, their ability to play off each other and set one another up to score—62 percent of Urbana’s goals have been assisted. The Hawks are also mindful of taking the right shots, Jack Jozwiak said, moving the ball around until they have a good look at the goal, rather than settling.
“With so many weapons on the field, our kids could be selfish and worry about what type of points they get, who is scoring and who gets the assists, but they’re not,” Coach Gavin Donahue said. “They just care that we’re putting the ball in the back of the net and scoring 15, 16 or 17 goals a game. On a scale of 1-10, I think their ability to play with each other is at a 10.”
While Urbana has asserted its offensive dominance, one can’t forget how integral the Hawks’ defense has been not only in stifling opponents’ attacks, but in giving their own attacking players the freedom to move forward with confidence and take more risks. Led by senior goalkeeper Kevin Medina (63 percent save percentage), senior Steven Drabick and junior Joey Masson, Urbana’s defense has given up only 4.6 goals per game.
Though Urbana doesn’t get caught up in fantasizing about winning the program’s first state title, focusing only on the task at hand and improving each and every day, the Hawks, who are looking for their first state tournament appearance since 2014 and seventh overall, can’t deny something feels different this spring.
“Comparing our team to last year, it’s night and day, not necessarily (talent-wise) but connection (with each other),” Medina said. “And I think because of those two together, we’re playing way better and hopefully can make a great run.”