Thayer, Urbana boys 'finish the deal' with revenge win over Broadneck to cap perfect season in 4A title game

OWINGS MILLS — It was only right that Urbana goalie Zach Thayer intercepted Broadneck’s final pass of the game.

The sophomore, in his first year as a starter between the pipes, represented so much of what went right for the Hawks this season. Thayer is technically sound, machine-like with a professional cool well beyond his age.

Nowhere did that shine brighter than in Thursday’s Class 4A boys lacrosse state championship at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium.

About 30 seconds before he made the closing pick, Thayer made his 15th and final save of the game with Urbana a man down and clinging to a one-goal lead. Thayer stood up at the left side of the net to swallow a midrange shot from the Bruins’ Liam Komlosy and send his team down the field, where TJ Harne potted an insurance tally.

Soon, Thayer found himself at the bottom of a dogpile of jubilant Hawks, joined by a few students who stormed the field. They were all celebrating Urbana’s second state title after a 7-5 win over Broadneck, which capped a perfect 20-0 season.

“The whole team won,” Thayer said. “People on the bench, the fans, the parents, the players, it was just great all around.”

It certainly felt sweeter by beating the Bruins, who had kicked the Hawks out in the state semifinals each of the prior two seasons. It’s become a budding rivalry as a result, with much on-field chirping and physical play that led to nine combined penalties.

“It took a scrimmage at the beginning of the season to see that the rivalry is still there, and no one is going to ease up at any time,” senior defender Aidan Casey said.

But Urbana felt much more prepared this time.

That preseason scrimmage between the squads showed the Hawks they were evenly matched, and a states rematch seemed almost certain. Further victories against top Maryland public school competition, including Mt. Hebron, Hereford and Towson, cemented the idea that Urbana could earn its revenge and complete an undefeated campaign in the process.

“We all played like we were reading each other’s minds,” senior attack Jacob Ward said. “Everybody was going all out on every single play. Everybody knew we were special.”

On Thursday, the Hawks played like it once again, starting with Thayer.

The sophomore came up with one massive save after another and never looked shaken by the volume of shots he faced. With Broadneck (15-5) largely controlling possession thanks to winning 13 of 15 faceoffs, Urbana spent a large portion of the game relying on Thayer to keep it in the contest.

“I don’t really think of it as I’m two years younger than the guys,” Thayer said. “I like to think of it as we’re the same age, same group of guys just fighting it out.”

The Hawks took that mantra to heart, using his saves as catalysts for offense. Urbana outscored the Bruins 5-2 in the second half, with Harne netting four of those goals.

He tied the game early in the third quarter, getting clotheslined by a Broadneck defender coming around the net and drawing a penalty as a result. Harne then earned the winning tally with 3:42 left in the game, once again working one-on-one with a defender while coming from behind the net.

It’s Harne’s signature, and the Bruins couldn’t stop it despite consistently tight defense.

“If you wrap around enough, you know what you can get away with, and what you need more space to do,” Harne said.

Ward scored the Hawks’ other two goals, while Jayden Sharper assisted on Harne’s insurance marker with 13.6 seconds left.

It was a quick, brutally efficient attack that served as a microcosm of the unstoppable unit that was the 2024 Urbana boys lacrosse team. Thayer helped make it possible, and he was the backbone of a defense that allowed five goals or less in 19 of its 20 games.

All of those were wins. And it was only fitting that Thayer intercepted a pass to end the game, and the season, with the ball in his stick.

“That’s a hard feat to do for any team, and these guys were up to the challenge,” Hawks coach Gavin Donahue said. “No one’s gonna care that we went, if it didn’t go our way, 19-1, that we had to finish the deal. And that’s what they did.”