Fueled by an offensive field day, the Howard girls’ lacrosse team took another step in the road toward redemption, pounding South Carroll in the 16th annual Karl Wolfe Memorial tournament title game on Saturday afternoon, 16-2, at Rockburn Branch Park.
After losing in the Class 4A state semifinal game to Dulaney a year ago and departing eight vital seniors to graduation in the process, the Lions knew they had to lean on lone returners Emileigh Scott, Jenny Kinsey and Sam Sagi to provide seasoning on the road to redemption.
On Saturday, Kinsey provided six points (four goals, two assists), Scott won nine draw controls and Sagi turned in a sparkling performance in goal.
“We really lean on these girls here for their experience and leadership,” Howard coach Diana Carey said. “I happen to have semi-coaches on the field. … They know how to lead the team. We’ve talked about this, playing as a team and trusting each other, listening to each other on the field so they don’t have to rely on me. I rely on them to lead. They did a great job coming out.”
Howard lost this same game last year to their state semifinal opponent, Dulaney, by one goal. So winning the Karl Wolf tournament title, honoring Howard High School’s boys lacrosse all-time leading scorer who died from Hodgkin's disease in the 1990s, is a humbling feat. Wolf was also revered as an affable figure in the Howard community.
“It feels really good to honor Karl and honor the Wolf family by bringing it back to Howard,” Kinsey said. “It was nice. … His parents are a huge support to the Howard community.”
Howard (2-1 county, 5-2 overall) busted open an 8-1 halftime lead, getting three goals from Kinsey. Kelly Schluederberg and Madison Savje netted two goals apiece to upstart the first half barrage.
One minute into the second half, Kinsey scored her fourth and final goal to swell Howard’s lead 9-1.
Scott then finished her two goals of the afternoon to make it 11-2 and 14-2 midway through the second half. Jamie Tsao added two goals and two assists. Jenna Peed, Jess Vetter and Caroline Whipple pitched in with a goal apiece.
The two goals allowed was is the lowest given up all season for Howard.
“What matters is the defense in front of me,” Sagi said. “I can make any save. But they are the ones who are giving up those angled shots that are giving me the opportunity to. Every game, what we’re trying to do, is work together on defense and slide to the correct spot, communicate more on the field, so we can have these games where we don’t let in any goals.”
South Carroll (4-4), meanwhile, had difficulty spurring any prolonged opportunities on offense due to the lack of draw controls in the circle.
“They were winning the draws,” Cavaliers coach Brigid McTavish said. “When you win draws, you’re on offense longer, and they were just scoring. They had nice shots, good cuts. … On attack, we have to take care of the ball. On defense, we have to make sure that we’re talking. We’ll work on that in practice the next few days, and we should be good.”
Howard’s next opponent is formidable Harford power, Bel Air, on Monday.
“That’s going to be a big game, an out-of-conference game,” Carey said. “We played them last year, won by one or two goals. They’re definitely a force to be reckon with.”