6-6 Kent boys pin down top seed in region lacrosse

WORTON — When Kent County High School’s boys take the field Thursday, May 9 in the semifinal round of the Class 1A East Region II lacrosse tournament, they will be looking to change the decades-long trajectory of the program.

The Trojans have not finished on the plus side of .500 for 20 years, not since the 15-2 campaign of 2004 — when current assistant coach Kolyn Kirby (50 goals, 55 assists) was a do-it-all senior for the Bayside Conference champions.

KCHS came close in 2018: getting to 6-6 with an 11-4 victory over Cambridge-South Dorchester in the regular-season finale, only to lose at Cambridge in a first-round playoff game, 7-6.

The aim is to rewrite the ending in 2024, and that starts tomorrow when Kent County hosts Cambridge in a game that is being played on the turf of Washington College’s Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium in Chestertown. The opening face-off is at 5 p.m.

KCHS is the region’s top seed.

“Home field advantage is a nice feeling,” said head coach Tom Speakman (KCHS Class of 1992).

“It’s been a good year,” he added, “with a lot of guys stepping up.”

There’s been a lot of growth, individually and collectively, for a program that was 0-8 when this year’s seniors were freshmen. In each of the two previous seasons, the Trojans won four games.

How does Speakman feel about where the Trojans are now?

“Proud as punch,” he said.

Playing a schedule that is heavy with larger Class 2A schools, Kent County closed out the regular season with back-to-back wins against North Caroline, 16-8, and Cambridge, 12-2.

KCHS kept Cambridge off the scoreboard for three-plus quarters in the finale May 3.

Senior attackman Will Speakman’s goal with 8 minutes, 8 seconds remaining stretched the lead to 11-0.

Cambridge (1-8) won the ensuing face-off and Gavin Weber ultimately solved junior keeper David Daniels (seven saves) with 7:55 to play.

Kent County got that goal back at the 4:40 mark when Peter Sine, from behind the cage, found Martin Parrish cutting from north to south.

The Vikings closed out the scoring with 2:24 to go with a man-down goal. By that point, many of Kent County’s starters were on the bench.

Senior Landon Wallace (one assist) led all players with four goals. Speakman (one assist) and Parrish each contributed a hat trick. Jack Fry and Ethan Clark both were one-and-one.

Parrish scooped up a team-leading seven ground balls. Freshman Gabe Parr, senior Ryan Myers and Speakman each had four ground balls.

Senior Brady Sutton won seven face-offs.

Sutton, Sine, Nick Stead and Victor Vujanic — all first-year high school players — have been instrumental to the Trojans’ success this season, according to the coaching staff. “They’ve filled in holes and given us fresh legs,” Tom Speakman said.

NOTES: Bohemia Manor (6-6), the second seed, will host Southern-Anne Arundel (4-8) in the other region semifinal.

The 1A East Region II championship game is Monday, May 13 at the higher seed.

KCHS defeated Bo Manor there, 15-4, in the season opener for both schools.

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