When the season began, Glenelg Country School set modest goals — win at least half of its game, come up with more draw controls, win more ground balls and play as a team.
The Dragons have achieved far beyond their original intent, however.
Wednesday’s 11-10 victory over Mercy puts Glenelg Country in Sunday’s Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championship game. The Dragons will play top-seeded Friends at 4 p.m. at Stevenson University.
In other Wednesday games, Howard, Glenelg, Wilde Lake won while Centennial, Oakland Mills, Long Reach, Hammond and Chapelgate saw their seasons end.
Glenelg Country 11, Mercy 10
There were a number of times against Mercy when the Glenelg Country School team could have said, “Oh, well, we tried.”
Instead, they just dug deeper and tried harder.
“Mercy’s a great team and they dominated much of the game. They outhustled us and got more draws,” said Glenelg Country School coach Paige Walton, whose players fought an uphill battle to victory.
The Dragons were down, 7-4, at the half.
“We knew we needed to make up ground,” Walton said of her halftime theme. There was plenty of time, she assured her charges.
Glenelg Country still trailed, 10-6, with less than 5 minutes to play. Then things started to change.
The Dragons got two goals by redefending the ball rather than coming up with it off the draw, which the team was not winning.
The score was 10-8 when Walton called a time out. “We weren’t sure we were going to be the ball back and we wanted to set our defense,” she said.
In spite of double teaming on defense and not conceding any balls, the Dragons were still down by two with 1:50 left on the clock.
“We got the last five draws of the game; Mercy never got the ball back,” Walton said.
Freshman Alyssa Arnold scored her team’s final two goals. One goal came from defending the Mercy goalkeeper on a clear.
“Alyssa checked the ball, it fell out of the keeper’s stick and Alyssa scored,” Walton said.
With the score tied, Mallory Pappas came up with the draw. Julia Sheehan went in to shoot but pulled back away from the goal circle and passed to Arnold who rolled the crease for the game winner.
The shot came with 15 seconds left and Mercy called a time out.
Pappas got the final draw to ice the game, which was originally scheduled to be played at Mercy but was moved to Glenelg Country School’s turf field because of Wednesday’s rain.