Marriotts Ridge and Howard reach girls lacrosse state semifinals

With Marriotts Ridge and Mt. Hebron facing off in Wednesday's 3A/2A South championship, Howard County was assured that at least one team would make the girls lacrosse state semifinals. But with its win in the 4A/3A North championship, Howard High will be joining in. The Lions defeated Linganore, 16-9. It is the school’s first regional title in girls lacrosse.

Marriotts Ridge defeated archrival Mt. Hebron, 11-8, to capture the 3A/2A South title. The Mustangs have been state semifinalists three of the last four years. The team won it all in 2011.

State semifinal games will be played Friday and Saturday at Franklin High School (Class 3A/2A) and Annapolis (Class 4A/3A). Marriotts Ridge will face Queen Anne’s High School and Howard will face Sherwood, specific dates and times to be announced.

Class 3A/2A South

For the fourth year in a row, Mt. Hebron faced Marriotts Ridge in the regional finals. While always a very good game, this time it wasn’t the usual suspenseful classic. Marriotts Ridge made sure of that.

“This is a big victory. Amazing,” said Marriotts Ridge’s Caroline Corbliss following her team’s 11-8 victory. “Last year we lost in the regional finals. This year we wanted to win. We were here to play and we played our game.”

The draw is so critical in girls lacrosse and behind midfielder Sam Brookhart, it is often Mt. Hebron’s speciality, but Corbliss proved equal to the Vikings’ challenge. She helped her team hold a 13-7 advantage on draw control.

“I take the draw a different way. It’s like a self draw,” she said.

Taylor Hensh put Marriotts Ridge on the scoreboard first, but Jordan Stevens, Jamie Schwartz and Jen Giles quickly answered for Mt. Hebron, giving the Vikings a 3-1 lead.

Marriotts Ridge’s offense then settled in and scored six unanswered goals to grab the game’s momentum.

Mt. Hebron tried to faceguard Marriotts Ridge’s top player, Zoe Stukenberg, but the maneuver was only partially successful. While Stukenberg was occupying the Vikings’ defense, her teammates went to work.

“It doesn’t matter who gets face-guarded on our team. If one person is not scoring then another person will step up and do it. And our whole team stepped up to do it today,” Hensh said.

Hensh had three goals as did Jenna Kerr and Marissa Davey.

The Marriotts Ridge defense was quite stingy. Keeper Rachel Ortell made 11 saves and the defenders in front of her — Alex McKay, Zadura, Stukenberg, Hensh, Brooke Sharbaugh, Katie Berdy and Amanda Miller — gave Mt. Hebron few uncontested looks.

“This was one of the best games our defense has played. We were compact, we slid early and we had each other’s backs,” McKay said. “It just felt good and it felt like we were clicking."

Yellow cards hampered Mt. Hebron. The team received five and had to play a player down the last 10:29 of the game. The last two minutes the Vikings were two-players down and had to try to double team to force the Mustangs to turn the ball over.

Marriotts Ridge was in the same position a year ago.

“We were down and had to double-team,” McKay said. “I completely understand and it sucks. We don’t have a shot clock and all you can do is run. I’ve been there and it’s not fun.”

Still, Mt. Hebron scored while a player down in the second half and actually narrowed the score to 10-8 not long after that. But that was as close as the Vikings would get.

“I don’t think we ever found our rhythm in the game and that really hurts you against a team like Marriotts Ridge,” said Mt. Hebron coach Trish Derwart.

Mt. Hebron was out of sync in its drive and in working together.

“It’s a shame for it to hit in this game,” Derwart said. “We weren’t playing our brand of lacrosse, which is unfortunate. …It’s one thing to lose when you feel good about how you are playing.”

This was the last chance for a state title for the Vikings’ 11 seniors, and the loss made for an emotional ending to their otherwise successful high school careers.

“I felt so bad for them. You could tell that it just wasn’t their game,” said Marriotts Ridge coach Natalie Gaieski. “I have so much respect for (Mt. Hebron) for fighting so hard and being able to handle us (while) down a player.”

Mt. Hebron ends its year with a 14-3 record.

Marriotts Ridge 11, Mt. Hebron 8

Goals: MR – Jenna Kerr 3, Marissa Davey 3, Taylor Hensh 3, Alexis Zadjura, Zoe Stukenberg. MH – Jen Giles 3, Jamie Schwartz 2, Jordan Stevens, Meghan Doherty, Tianna Wallpher.

Assists: MR – Jenna Kerr 2, Marissa Davey, Alexis Zadjura, Zoe Stukenberg, Taylor Hensh. MH – Amanda Steinmuller, Jen Giles.

Saves: MR – Rachel Ortell 7. MH – Maddy Fisher 4.

Halftime: Marriotts Ridge, 5-3.

Class 4A/3A North

After 25 years of girls lacrosse, Howard is finally getting a chance to play on the state’s biggest stage. The Lions defeated Linganore, 16-9, to win their first regional title.

It’s not that Howard hasn’t had good teams, it’s just that the Lions have often been stuck in the same region as Mt. Hebron, Marriotts Ridge, Glenelg and Centennial.

Last year, though, Howard was bumped up to Class 4A/3A.

“At the beginning of the year, we sat down as a team and our goal was to make it to the regional championship game again,” said Howard coach Alleesha Davidson.  “We wanted to go at least as far as we did last year.”

Howard lost to Westminster in last year’s regional championship game.

Under Davidson, now in her third year, the Lions have gone one step farther each season.

Howard started slowly in Wednesday’s regional final. The Lions led, 6-4, at the half. Then they took command of the game.

“In the second half, we really controlled the ball and the momentum,” Davidson said. “They couldn’t stop us. We spread them out and held the ball to run time off the clock. We moved the ball around a lot and then we’d go to goal and score.”

Kristen Woolschlager had three goals for Howard and when Linganore’s defense turned its attention to her, Abbey Groft picked up the slack. She finished the afternoon with four goals.

Howard’s scoring was spread among eight players and nine of the team’s goals were assisted.

Although Michaela Rich had five goals, Howard’s defense was up to the task of stopping Linganore.

”They either scored in unsettled situations or on free positions,” Davidson said.

“Katie Maggio played an outrageous game today on defense,” the coach added. “We left her back a lot and she was picking up every single loose ball and being so smart with the ball.”

Charlotte Wilkinson was impressive on the draw for Howard.

Howard plays Sherwood in the state semifinal.  Davidson said she knows nothing about the Montgomery County school, and maybe that’s mutual.

“Nobody really knows who we are,” she said.

The Lions finished fifth in Howard County play. Wednesday’s victory gives the team a school record for victories (12) in a season.

“This is such a great group of kids. They work so hard and play as a team. They are just so nice,” Davidson said.

Howard 16, Linganore 9

Goals: Ho – Abbey Groft 4, Kristen Woolschlager 3, Kelsey Savje 2, Kelly Aquino 2, Molly Hart 2, Charlotte Wilkinson, Cassidy Burns, Maddie Regal. L – Michaela Rich 5, Lindsey Lawrence 2, Jackie Pohida, S. Cline.

Assists: Ho – Maddie Regal 3, Kristen Woolschlaer 2, Kelsey Savje, Cassidy Burns, Abbey Groft, Charlotte Wilkinson. L – Jackie Pohida, Lindsey Lawrence.

Halftime: Howard, 6-4.

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