Tuesday’s game against Howard was barely five minutes old when Centennial coach Rachel Burton called timeout. She didn’t like what she saw happening on the field.
Sure, her Eagles met their pre-game goal of scoring first, but Howard replied with four unanswered goals.
Whatever Burton had to say to her squad was effective as the Eagles reeled off eight straight goals to take control of the game en route to a 16-11 victory.
“We talked about what we had worked on in practice and we talked about how we should change our defensive mentality,” said Centennial’s Martha Hutzell. “Our coach wanted us to come back and we did.”
With Dani Wilson and Kay Kelly taking turns at center, Centennial started winning the draw and dominating the tempo.
“We really took control in the offensive end,” Burton said. “We were possessing (the ball) and taking really smart shots. I was proud of them for that.”
While Centennial was making its run toward a 10-7 halftime lead, Howard struggled with lackluster play.
“If you not going to win ground balls or the draw, you’re never going to win the game,” said Howard coach Alleesha Davidson. “I was disappointed in the lack of hustle in the team. That’s not the way Howard usually plays.”
Davidson admitted that her team, with a total of nine freshmen and sophomores, is very young and that it hasn’t quite come together.
While Centennial’s defense was porous in the very early going, Sammie Albornoz and Kelly saw what needed to be done and made the necessary adjustments.
“They took the leadership to say we’re not talking, we’re not sliding and we’re not communicating and they went out there and fixed it,” Burton said.
Centennial did not lack for incentive to win.
Howard beat the Eagles, 13-10, a year ago. It was the first time Howard had ever beaten Centennial in girls lacrosse.
“This is definitely the biggest game we’ve played this season,” said Wilson. “We were fired up from our loss to Glenelg and we know we could beat Howard.”
“We really wanted to redeem ourselves from last year and kind of let the county see in this game, where we are this year,” Burton said.
Hutzell (five), Wilson (three) and Kelly (three) led Centennial’s scoring. Sophomore Katie Schluederberg scored four of Howard’s goals.
Centennial moved its overall record to 3-1 while Howard dropped to 0-3.
Centennial 16, Howard 11
Goals: C — Martha Hutzell 5, Dani Wilson 3, Kay Kelly 3, Samantha Courtemanche 2, Alicia Hsieh 2. Ho — Katie Schluederberg 4, Maddie Regal 2, Kelly Aquino 2, Ella Orzechowski, Rosie O’Connor, Kendall Wells.
Assists: C — Kay Kelly 3, Dani Wilson 2, Sammie Albornoz. Ho — Maddie Regal, Abbey Groft.