The Glenelg field hockey team entered an elite group on Saturday, as they are now one of only six teams to ever win three consecutive state championships.
The Gladiators dominated the second half to rout Poolesville, 5-1, in the state championship game Saturday afternoon at Washington College. Five different players scored for Glenelg.
“We don’t rely on any one person we play for each other. We play to win," said senior Danielle Baker, who has been a part of all three championships.
The win was not guaranteed. Glenelg fell behind early when Poolesville’s Sarah Onderko scored seven minutes in on an assist from Allie Greene. Playing from behind was unfamiliar territory for Glenelg.
“We knew they were going to come out strong,” Megan Taylor said.
“That goal definitely got us ready. It got into our heads and we knew we needed to pick up our game,” Baker added.
About five minutes later Stephanie Asher carried the ball down the left side of the field and crossed it left. Taylor redirected the cross to Ivy Meissner who was right in front of the goal and ready to score. The Gladiators had evened it up.
With a little under ten minutes left in the half Taylor found Baker on a textbook cross to secure a 2-1 halftime lead.
Glenelg controlled the second half. One minute in Emily Russo found the back of the net after a scramble in front of the cage. Then Taylor earned her first goal as she lifted the ball past goalie Anna Desoto (12 saves) at the 20 minute mark. Tagne Vandewall rounded out the scoring with nine minutes left on an assist by Baker.
Although Poolesville started strong, it was Glenelg who maintained offensive pressure with 12 corners to Poolesville’s 2. Falcon coach Regina Grubb was proud of her team’s work ethic despite struggling to control the momentum.
“We scored quickly and I thought 'let’s get the momentum going' and then it turned,” she said. “They gave everything they had, their best effort and I’m very proud of them for that.”
The Gladiators have been undefeated since their overtime loss to South River on Sept. 8, a 17-game winning streak. They have also outscored their opponents 110-18.
Captain Emily Russo said that the key to their success lies in their team chemistry, which is rooted in strong relationships on and off the field.
“We all had to depend on each other,” she said. “That’s what made it so special, we all can share equally. We don’t really care who’s scoring or what’s happening, just as long as we are winning as a team, that’s all we care about.”
This championship is sweet to coach Ginger Kincaid because it symbolizes the importance of legacy passed down within the Glenelg program. She pointed to a group of former players sitting in the stands.
“You see all the alumni here, they were the ones that got it started and they handed it down to us,” she said. “So this year is kind of a transfer of power to this group and hopefully they will send it down to the next group.”
Goals — G: Meissner, Baker, Russo, Taylor, Vandewall. P: Onderko.
Assists — G: Taylor 2, Baker 2.
Saves — G: Hoyt 3. P: Desoto 12.
Half — 2-1.