The Notre Dame Prep Girls Lacrosse Tournament wasn't set up to crown an overall winner, but the Century players certainly left Towson at least feeling like champions.
And, with county opponents Liberty (April 2), Urbana (April 4) and Walkersville (April 9) on the horizon, it was a good thing to be challenged by such an ambitious non-league schedule.
In the second annual three-team, round-robin event on March 30, the No. 10 Knights came way with wins over No. 3 Notre Dame Prep, 12-9, and No. 4 South River, 17-5.
Playing their second and third ranked opponents in eight days, the Knights wanted to make up for an 11-7 loss to then-No. 10 C. Milton Wright on March 23. In that game, they fell behind, 4-0, when the Mustangs started off with four extra-man goals in two minutes and Century never caught up.
This time, the defending Class 3A-2A state champions used their own extra-man goals to get the jump on the Seahawks in the final game of the tournament.
"We came out as a new team pretty much," Century senior Haley Bordner said. "We didn't play very well last Saturday, so we really wanted to come out and redeem ourselves. At practice this week, we worked really hard on all the stuff that we needed to work on."
Bordner, who scored seven total goals in the Knights' two wins, gave Century an early lead, but the Seahawks (2-1) answered with three straight goals, including free-position goals from Madison Carter and Alex Watson for a 3-1 lead. After an Alexa McGovern goal cut the lead to one, Bordner tied the game on a crease roll with 9:03 to go.
South River's Taylor Bresnahan, who scored eight goals in two games, then picked up a yellow card, putting the Knights a man up for two minutes. They responded with goals from Madi Hall and Bordner.
Hannah Warther made it 6-3 before the Seahawks received a second card, and Hall added another extra-man goal on a feed from Abby Remenapp to boost the lead to 7-3 with 1:44 left in the half.
"There was definitely an adrenaline drop when we got those yellow cards," South River coach Kim McNemar said. "They scored like four goals in five minutes after we were tied. Those yellow cards definitely affected us, and I think when they scored those goals and they got up that, it just changed the momentum."
Jacky Spalding cut the lead to 7-4, but the Knights put the finishing touch on an 8-1 run to end the first half with goals from Warther and Morgan Marrale in the final 36 seconds.
With Century leading, 9-5, going into the second half, the Seahawks' Olivia Hokanson scored on a pass from Kacie Longo to give her team a little spark. After that, however, the Knights grabbed the momentum back with goals from Bordner and Warther to start a 9-1 run.
Bordner and Warther scored four goals each in the win over South River, while Hall and Kailey Wolfe had three each. Marrale had a goal and four assists.
"Those teams are both really highly ranked," Bordner said of South River and Notre Dame Prep, "so we knew it wasn't going to be easy, but coming out and beating them is definitely a great feeling. It gives us a lot of confidence for what we can do for the rest of the season."
In their win over Notre Dame Prep (2-5), the Knights scored on every shot they put on goal in the first half, taking a 7-2 lead into halftime, but the Blazers fought back to within two midway through the second half.
Mae Tarr and Molly Cobb, who finished the game with three goals each, scored twice each as the Blazers won four of the first five second-half draws and pulled to within 8-6 with 15:48 left.
Notre Dame Prep won the next two draws, but turned them both over and Century's Marissa Donoghue and Marrale converted for a 10-6 lead with 10:53 left.
After that, the Blazers could not get closer than three.
"We correct one thing and then five other things go wrong," Notre Dame Prep coach Mary Bartel said. "I do think it's a matter of them just getting some experience and playing together. And the good news is these are nonleague games, and we play them to get the experience."
Century 18, South River 7
Goals: C—Bordner 4, Warther 4, Hall 3, Wolfe 3, McGovern 2, Marrale; SR—Bresnahan 3, Spalding, Carter, Watson, Hokanson. Assists: C—Marale 4, Bordner, Hall, Wolfe, Ab.Remenapp; SR—Spalding, Longo, Kovalick. Saves: C—Al.Remenapp 4; SR—Duswalt 4. Half: C, 9-4.
Century 12, NDP 9
Goals: C—Bordner 3, Warther 3, Hall 2, Donoghue 2, McGovern, Maralle; NDP—Cobb 3, Tarr 3, Haus 2, Willis. Assists: C—Hall 2, Bordner, Ab.Remenapp; NDP—Haus. Saves: C—Al.Remenapp 9; NDP—Darlington 0, Auburn 1. Half: C, 7-2.