Zoe Stukenberg made sure that every Marriotts Ridge girls lacrosse practice ended the same way.
"Zoe always wanted to end on a made shot or a good play, and it always had to be pretty," said Marriotts Ridge coach Natalie Gaieski.
"I'm big on ending on a good note," Stukenberg admitted. "I hate when the offense takes a crappy shot. ... I'm not really satisfied until the offense or what we are working on gets a good one in."
Stukenberg, named the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times girls lacrosse Player of the Year for the third time, finishes her high school career in that same good-note mode.
She is the only three-time award winner, which puts her one-up on the likes of standouts Erinn Quinn, Lauren Kickham, Kristen Waagbo and Megan Bosica and two-up on her future college coach Cathy (Nelson) Reese.
"What an honor to be ranked with those girls. There are some serious players there," Stukenberg said.
To be named Player of the Year takes a combination of factors. Luck, innate talent, hard work and drive are essential, of course, but Stukenberg acknowledges other things.
"I've been on an unbelievable team, I've had unbelievable coaching and a great support system all around," she said.
Marriotts Ridge won this year's Class 3A/2A state title, humbling Century, the defending champion, 15-5.
The pre-game was inauspicious — the Mustangs forgot to bring practice balls and then they dinged their own goalkeeper during warm-ups — but once the game started it was one to remember. Everything came together perfectly for Marriotts Ridge, which also won the 2011 title.
When asked how to defend against Stukenberg, Century coach Becky Groves half-kiddingly said that she hoped Stukenberg wouldn't play.
There was no chance of that.
"Zoe does it all," Groves said. "Not only can she score but she makes everyone around her better. …To be honest, I don't think there is a way to stop her. You can kind of deter her a little bit from having a huge game, but you are not going to stop her."
Century tried face-guarding and double-teaming her. Stukenberg replied with three goals and six assists. The six assists would have been a championship game record in any classification other than Marriotts Ridge's Class 2A where the record is 11.
"There's no better feeling than winning your last game," Stukenberg said. "Only six sets of seniors in the whole state got to win their last game. How lucky to be one of those (seniors)."
Over her high school career, she scored 220 goals and had 121 assists. She also had 239 draw controls.
On top of the career numbers, her legacy as a leader will last at Marriotts Ridge. She was the player who set the tone.
"Zoe always made everyone feel welcomed," Gaieski said.
She took freshman Lexi Souder under her wing as a practice partner.
Although welcoming, Stukenberg expected a lot of her teammates.