In every athlete's career, there is one game or one moment that stands out. It's an individual performance or a team effort to cherish. It's a memory that brings back the spring-in-your-step of youth.
It's the kind of game that others will say, with a note of awe in their voice, "Remember the time when …?"
For Taylor Hensh, this year's Columbia Flier/Howard County Times girls lacrosse Player of the Year, that unforgettable game came in the Class 3A/2A South Section I final this spring.
Marriotts Ridge, Hensh's team, was hosting Century with a berth in the regional final on the line. The losing team's season would be over, and it would be time to turn in the uniforms.
In the win-or-go-home matchup, Marriotts Ridge found itself down, 6-2, with 16 minutes left on the clock.
For the Mustangs, there was no draw control, no ball control, no goals and no momentum.
It was only because of a great effort by the team's defense that Marriotts Ridge was even within hailing distance of Century.
"It was really bad and I didn't want to lose," Hensh said.
After a Marriotts Ridge time out and an exchange of goals, making Century's lead 7-3, the complexion of the game began to change. In the final 15 minutes, Hensh scrapped for the draw control and tallied four goals (and five in the game) and led her team to a thrilling 8-7 comeback victory.
"Pretty much every aspect of my game was on point" in the Century comeback, she said.
Her efforts were not lost on the opposition.
"(Hensh) took over the game. She was scoring goals and she was getting the ball. It didn't matter where the ball was, she was there," said Century coach Becky Groves. "I felt like they had the best player on the field and when you have the best player on the field, you usually win."
To many observers, the 5-foot-3 senior midfielder was often the best player on the field. With Hensh leading the way, by season's end the Mustangs had their third state title in four years.
This spring, she's first-team All-Met (Washington Post) and All-Metro (Baltimore Sun) and she's earned a spot on the Under Armour All-America South team. The US Lacrosse All-Americans have yet to be announced.
Her talent was obvious at an early age. She committed to the University of Maryland as a sophomore. She will be reuniting with several Marriotts Ridge teammates, including three-time Player of the Year Zoe Stukenberg, when she joins the Terrapins this fall.
"Taylor is a pint-sized powerhouse," said Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady. "She is the standard of excellence our younger athletes strive to achieve. Athletes of her caliber are rare."
Hensh has speed, agility and the ability to weave through the defense. When she was fouled and awarded an 8-meter shot, she was deadly.
"In most games on 8-meter shots, she was probably 90-98 percent accurate. It was rare if she missed a shot," Brady said.
Hensh scored 87 goals and had 40 assists this season. Her career numbers are 233 goals, 76 assists and 111 draw controls. Throw in two county titles and three state championships in her time at Marriotts Ridge and it's even more impressive.
"Taylor is a true competitor. She's not going to stop until that very last moment," Brady said. "She pushes herself beyond her limits in the off-season, the preseason and in season. …She's the kid who is out there pushing it to the next level all the time.