Fallston hit Loch Raven with three goals in the first two minutes and went onto to cruise to a 20-8 victory in a Class 2A/1A state semifinal at Bel Air High Saturday afternoon.
Logan Gasior and Kayla Reilly got the show started and Reilly finished with a season-high seven goals.
Reilly, a senior attacker and Campbell University recruit, was one of nine goal-scorers for the Cougars, who advance to the state final and play Manchester Valley, of Carroll County, at UMBC either Tuesday or Wednesday.
“It will be a little tougher to win this year than two years ago,” said Fallston coach Michael McTeague, whose team captured a state title in 2012 by beating Winters Mill. “Two years ago, we were loaded. We had 18 seniors.”
Fallston (14-3) denied Loch Raven from reaching the state championship game again.
The Raiders have lost in the final four in five of the last six years.
“This was the first time we hadn’t seen Winters Mill in four years,” Loch Raven coach Tracy Hanley said of the state semifinal. “That was exciting for us. But it’s really hard (losing). You have to pick up and fight back for next year, knowing you want a different outcome that what the scoreboard showed today.”
Loch Raven was down 4-0 before sophomore midfielder Lexi Tan got a shot past goalie Ericka Wright (five saves) about seven minutes into play.
Fallston responded by scoring four unanswered goals for an 8-1 lead midway through the first half.
“We have a pretty potent offense, and were controlling the draws,” said McTeague, noting the strong play of Katie Donhauser and Issabelle Dallam, who won 18 of 30 draws. “We can really put some numbers up if we have possession. We were tell them, ‘Not to force it.” But to look around when defenses are not as organized as they should be. That paid off early on.”
After freshman attacker Taylor Dodd, who had a team-high three goals, scored on a feed from Lindsey Wagner to trim the lead to 8-2 with 12 minutes remaining, Fallston closed the first half on a 6-2 run.
Reilly had three goals during that stretch as Fallston led 14-4 at ntermission.
“They just weren’t ready mentally and they saw that hole they couldn’t get of,” Hanley said of the first half. “In the second half, we came out with a lot more fire. I think they just woke up and realized this could be the last 25 minutes of lacrosse for them before college.”
Dodd and Courtney Genovese scored for Loch Raven in the first three minutes of the second half to cut the advantage to 14-6, but the Cougars answered with goals from Reilly and Zoe Hurlburt to make it 16-6 with 15:50 and force a running clock the rest of the way.”
Caroline English added four goals for Fallston. Logan Gasior had three and an assist and Hurlburt contributed two goals and an assist.
"The nice thing about us is that we are getting much more consistent and playing sharper and more cohesive as a team," McTeague said. "That's exactly what you want toward the end of the season."