Less than two minutes into Friday afternoon’s game, which Marriotts Ridge ended up going on to win 19-5, River Hill’s Jenna Collins gave the Mustangs their first wake-up call.
Collins controlled the first draw of the game and took the ball toward her goal. After a teammate missed on an 8-meter free position shot, Collins buried her 8-meter attempt in the back of the net to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead over the defending county champions.
Collins’ twin, Julia, came up with the next draw and the Hawks went to the attack again, giving Marriotts Ridge its second wake-up call.
“We might not have been as serious as we should have at the beginning, but after that first goal, we realized that we needed to turn it on,” said Marriotts Ridge goalkeeper Rachel Ortell.
“The Collins girls are very good and I think we just underestimated the River Hill team,” she added.
Taylor Hensh scored back-to-back goals to swing the momentum in Marriotts Ridge’s favor. Some changes at the center position also helped.
“We weren’t coming up with the draw at the beginning,” said Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady.
Unlike River Hill, which relies primarily on Jenna Collins to take the draw, Marriotts Ridge has options. The Mustangs started with Hensh, switched to Caroline Corbliss and then Marissa Davey. By the end of the game even junior Casey Summerson took a couple of draws.
“Each girl has her strength and that is really helpful when we are struggling to get the draw,” Brady said.
Davey was probably the most effective.
“Marissa did a heck of a job,” said Brady. “She was a momentum changer on the draw, I think. And not only that, she really handled the ball on the attacking side with her feeds and her shots and her ride. Her ride looked great and caused lots of (River Hill) turnovers.”
Davey finished the game with five goals and three assists. Hensh added six goals and three assists.
River Hill had no one who could answer that.
“We haven’t been on a field. By no means is that an excuse, but we need to pick up our fundamental game. It’s the simple things,” said River Hill coach Kelly Rabil.
Lack of draw control and turnovers hurt the Hawks.
“We have young and we have old, we just need to mesh,” Rabil said. “As we all do sometimes, we stare at the person with the ball and we want to watch.”
Marriotts Ridge was sharper in its passing and ball handling.
“One thing we really work on is our ball handling. It’s one thing that our team is very proud of,” Ortell said.
The Mustangs can also be proud of their defense which totally denied River Hill for 28 minutes in the middle of the game while Marriotts Ridge built a 19-2 lead.
“I’m just happy with the way our defense played, we really communicated well,” Ortell said. “We’ve been working on our slides in practice and it really showed.”