After Century's Hannah Warther scored 10 goals in an 18-17 overtime win over Conestoga (Pa.) Saturday, C. Milton Wright coach Brent Ritz knew his team had to focus on containing the talented sophomore.
Early in Tuesday night's non-league girls lacrosse game, however, the Mustangs put a little too much effort into trying to stop Warther. Her teammates took advantage and the No. 5 Knights bolted to a four-goal lead.
Once Ritz adjusted the defense and the Mustangs started winning more draws, No. 3 C. Milton Wright battled back, took a late three-goal lead and held on through the final minute for a 14-13 victory in Bel Air.
It was the second straight win in the series for the Mustangs (2-1) after seven consecutive losses, but it took a lot of resilience and plenty of patience late in the game.
The Knights (4-1) jumped out to a 5-1 lead in less than five minutes on two quick goals from Kylie Davis and one each from Sky Hyatt, Marissa Donoghue and Madi Hall.
With defender Katie Burgee face guarding Warther and getting some double-team help, the Mustangs shut Warther out early, but they needed to adjust to the rest of the attackers.
"It's going to start and finish with Hannah," Ritz said. "You saw that at the end of the game when she just ran by two or three of our girls to score a goal, so we put a little face guard on her to start, but then we were really failing the one-v-one battle, so we just adjusted and switched the defense and talked about toughening up and having to force contact."
Warther led the Knights with three goals and three assists, but her first goal didn't come until the final three minutes of the first half.
In the meantime, the Mustangs slowed the Knights down and started winning some draws to gradually chip away at the lead, tying it at 7 when Maggie Gallagher fed Haley Alexander on the break with 4:31 left in the first half.
"We're young, and I thought we made some bad decisions," Knights coach Becky Groves said. "We got up and then we started to force things instead of possessing the ball. When we got up by four, then we started to force things and when [the play] was stopped, we didn't try to look for something else, we forced it, but I think that's something that we'll learn along the way."
The game was tied at 8 and 10 before the Mustangs won four of the next five draws and took off on a 4-1 run for 14-11 lead with 3:05 left in the game. The Mustangs, who built their lead after slowing the game down with a patient offense for about nine minutes, won the next draw but turned it over.
The Knights then got quick goals from Hall and Warther in the final 50 seconds before they ran out of time.
C. Milton Wright, which also has a young offense, showed variety in their plays and balance in the attack with seven players scoring, led by four goals and two assists from Gallagher and three goals and three assists from Lauren Haggerty.
"[We] definitely need to learn how to gel as a team losing nine players [to graduation]," Gallagher said. "But, we have underclassmen step up and fill their places. We've been working really hard at practice, and it's been good."
3CM Wright 14, 5Century 13
Goals: CE—Warther 3, Hall 3, K.Davis 2, Hyatt 2, Donoghue 2, Dickman; CMW—Gallagher 4, Haggerty 3, Cavanaugh, 2, Alexander 2, Matthai, Aponte, J.O'Mara, Assists: CE—Warther 3, M.Connolly, Hall; CMW—Gallagher 2, Haggerty 2, Alexander 2, Matthai. Saves: CE—Pluta 1, Schaffer 1; CMW—Miller 2, Graham 1. Half: 8-8.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun