Paul Noone heads to work every day with a small, motivating trinket in his bag.
Noone, who is the coach, carries the 4A/3A Maryland Boys Lacrosse State Championship ring the Seahawks won just three years ago.
The ring serves as a reminder of his team’s success and the glory of a state championship. It embodies what the squad is hoping for going into the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) playoffs.
“I showed the ring to the team captain and told him, if you work hard enough, if you dedicate yourself, you can get one of these,” Noone said.
Prior to the MPSSAA playoffs, South River’s boys lacrosse team takes on Glenelg High of Howard County on Tuesday in the District V title game as they look to build off an undefeated record.
The team achieved perfection in county play this season. But despite its overpowering performance against local opponents, Noone said he didn't anticipate this season's record.
“We had no expectations of this. Collectively as coaching staff, naturally we wanted to have a good season but we looked at it like more of a rebuilding season,” Noone said. “We lost two of our three attack men last year and we lost a lot of midfielders that we thought were irreplaceable, but it’s worked well.”
With eight seniors on the squad, Noone relied heavily on young players—including several freshmen. But the assimilation of the upperclassmen with the younger athletes helped the Seahawks defeat every team they’ve faced so far this year.
“These kids have been playing each other and together since they were like 5 or 6 years old so it is just a matter of getting the kids used to our system,” Noone said.
It also doesn’t hurt that the Seahawks have one of the most dominant defenses in the region, allowing only 84 goals through 14 games. They have outscored their opponents 179-84, giving them a goal differential of +95.
“Our defense is our best attribute,” Noone said. “I’m a firm believer—I don’t care what sport it is—defense wins championships. There’s no arguing that.”
Jordan Kneisly, Stephen Hincks and Tyler King form the backbone of the Seahawks’ defense. Noone said he’s confident that if they play their game, they always have a chance to win.
“Those guys can play,” he said.
As South River prepares to take on Glenelg for the District V title in Edgewater—a game separate from the MPSSAA playoffs—Noone said Tuesday’s game isn’t about keeping an undefeated season, it’s about pride.
“[Tuesday night], this is Howard County versus Anne Arundel County. Everybody wants to beat South River,” Noone said. “For us, this has nothing to do with the playoffs but everything to do with bragging rights.”
South River’s girls lacrosse team is also representing Anne Arundel County in its own District V title game. The ladies take on Marriotts Ridge High of Howard County.
Regardless of the outcome Tuesday, the girls and boys lacrosse teams hope they will soon own a championship ring—just like the one Noone takes to work every day.
The girls team plays at 5 p.m. Tuesday at South River High. The boys team will follow the girls and play at 7 p.m. Tuesday.