The Potomac Panthers did not take long in opening up an early lead over their archrivals, the Flint Hill Huskies, in Sunday’s MAC Championship lacrosse game. And once they did, they never looked back en route to a 12-3 victory.
Potomac leaned on the balanced offensive combo of seniors Matt Carney, Alex Prezioso, and Chris Graves, sophomore Kevin Havermann, and freshman Fitz Reese. A strong performance in net from junior goalie Parker Hornstein ensured that the Huskies were never able to find a way back into the game.
Potomac head coach Ian Healy was thrilled with his team’s performance, winning their second straight MAC title in his third season as head coach.
“We really hit our stride at the end of the season,” Healy said. “We’ve got a senior class that is very strong and they give us great leadership all over the field. They really wanted to go out there and put an exclamation point on their season. And it’s a testament to them that they went out there today and they got it done.”
Although Flint Hill kept it close with a couple of goals of their own in the early minutes, the Panthers had opened up a 7-2 lead by halftime. They closed it out quickly in the third quarter with four goals in the first few minutes. By that point, the outcome was unquestionably decided.
Senior Matt Carney (St. Mary’s College of Maryland) notched three goals on the day, as did teammates Alex Prezioso and Kevin Havermann. The hattrick pushed his season total to a conference-leading 46. In his last game in a Potomac jersey, he was proud of the way his teammates performed.
“It’s definitely a credit to the other guys, it’s not just on me,” Carney said, deflecting credit for his team’s championship winning performance. “They’re always able to find me and give me opportunities, but I also try to help them and give them opportunities. This is a team where there’s no selfish playing out there. I know that if I’m having an off shooting day, they can always pick up my slack. It feels great, it’s been a great senior year and I’ll cherish these memories.”
Potomac’s junior faceoff specialist and Princeton commit Jack O’Brien was completely dominant from the center, which allowed the Panthers to control possession for much of the tilt.
“That’s what we’ve been doing all year,” O’Brien said. “If they don’t have the ball they can’t score. We knew we just had to win face-offs, come down, and give the ball off to our offense. We’re here to show that we can dominate games. We weren’t here just to play around today. We just kept putting it on and never let up the pressure.”
The Panthers finished the season with a 14-4 record and went undefeated in conference play. The Huskies ended their year at 10-11. Despite their strong season, including an upset win over St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, Potomac did not make the Virginia state tournament playoffs, as three of their four losses came to Virginia opponents.
Nevertheless, it was the team’s best season since Healy took over as head coach. Although Potomac will lose a strong class of seniors, the future still looks bright for the program.
“This year we had a whole new defense, and they grew a lot as the season went on,” Healy said. “Now we graduate three big offensive players and a long-pole. But you hope that the young guys learn less about the Xs and Os and more about how to lead a team, how to work together, how to care about each other, and how to do things the right way.”