URBANA — With hair sopped and thickly coated eye-black smeared all over his cheekbones, Daniel Ross stood on the turf field of rival Urbana High, putting perspective on what has been accomplished.
“This is about what I pictured,” Ross said of his more than stellar season in the making before pausing to correct himself.
“Actually, no, it’s better. Much better.”
On a night where satisfaction could have taken over, the dominant showing only elevated heights that haven’t been reached since the Lancers’ state championship run five years ago.
Ross, an Army West Point commit, rose the bar even higher on Friday by powering Linganore (10-1) past Urbana, 7-2, behind a five point performance.
“This is probably the best squad since 2011 when we won the state championship,” Ross said. “It’s the way we play together, the way we capitalize off each other.”
From the onset, Ross and the Lancers overwhelmed a prominent Hawks defense by spraying a flurry of shots.
Just 1:02 into the contest, William Pellicier one-timed a feed from Ross to give Linganore the early 1-0 edge. Then, 19 seconds into the second quarter, Ross received a pass from Jordan Swoyer behind the net to rocket his first of four goals.
Swoyer would score less than a minute later after dishing out one of his two assists on the night.
“(Linganore) teams in the past, we’ve had a lot of individual players,” Ross said, “Everyone here busts their backs for each other. I think that’s a big thing, we all care about each other.”
A year ago, the Lancers carried a 10-2 record into the playoffs only to get bounced by Howard, the eventual state champions.
This year, however, has claimed to be turned up a notch. They’ve outscored their opponents 149 to 39, and the lone loss came to the No. 3 ranked team in the nation (Bullis School).
Majority of the players have returned from 2015, adding experienced seasoning to a defensive unit that mainly features underclassmen, with junior goalie Kyle Browne (12 saves) among them.
“Guys are bigger, faster, stronger this year,” head coach Rich Thompson said. “This may be (Kyle) Browne’s first year on varsity, but he’s come to play every night.”
Ross scored two more goals in the final 5:15 of the second quarter to give Linganore a 5-1 halftime lead. Urbana’s Brendan Schmitz got the Hawks on the board at the 9:48 mark in the second on a twirling score.
Urbana would control much of the third period, but Browne’s solid play in goal and continued stifling defense denied any threat of a comeback.
“It’s always a fight with (Urbana),” Thompson said. “Glad we could get them back this year after losing to them last year.”
Through 11 games, Ross has tallied a whopping 60 points (40 goals and 20 assists). Both rank him first comfortably in Frederick County, and towards the top in the state.
If you ask Ross how he’s gotten to be so dominant, he’ll humbly detract anything that involves him.
Ross claims that experience playing with higher level club teams and participating in elite showcase events has prepped him for current success, and the ability to lead his Lancer team on what hopes to be a deep playoff run.
“It’s just years of experience,” Ross said, who’s been playing lacrosse since first grade. “Being in a position to where I play up against really good kids. … I’ve seen some top defenders, and I think playing against those players has elevated my game here.”
Swoyer ranks second on Linganore, and in Frederick County, with 48 points, 37 of those being assists.
“He’s committed to Army, that says it all,” Thompson said of Ross. “Just an outstanding player, and even better kid.”
Pellicier added two goals for Linganore who face Brunswick and undefeated Oakdale next week.
Griff Lehnert recorded five saves for Urbana (6-3).