The biggest week of the No. 4 Maryvale lacrosse team's regular season began with Monday's non-league matchup at Baltimore County power Dulaney.
Maryvale fought off a determined Dulaney squad for a 13-9 victory, kicking off a crucial stretch that continues Tuesday against Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland rival St. Mary's and then Thursday against top-ranked McDonogh.
"We're going literally one day at a time," said Jessica Randisi, Maryvale's second-year coach. "There's no other option."
Senior-dominated Maryvale (8-1) turned to a versatile sophomore midfielder to ensure Monday's win. Miranda Ibello scored a game-high five goals and added two assists. She got plenty of help from junior Elena McWright (three goals, one assist) and senior Amanda Bochniak (one goal, three assists).
"I feel like our offense is really stepping up," Ibello said. "We're passing and finishing a lot better than we did last year."
The teams exchanged goals through the opening minutes. Ibello broke a 2-2 tie when she dodged past a Dulaney defender and fired a left-handed shot past senior goalkeeper Caroline Meegan with 10:48 remaining in the first half. Senior midfielder Sarah Dorl one-timed a centering pass from senior attack Lauren Bundick to even the score, but Maryvale scored three unanswered goals to take a 6-3 lead at the break.
Dulaney (4-3) dominated the first five minutes of the second half. Senior midfielder Kaeli O'Connor and sophomore attack Ali Collie scored unassisted goals to pull the hosts within 6-5, but McWright and senior Sydney Hesselbein scored to put Maryvale up by three. After Maddie Manzoni scored to pull Dulaney within 8-6, senior Emma Tizard and Ibello scored just 43 seconds apart to give Maryvale a four-goal advantage for the first time.
Dulaney kept winning draw controls and putting pressure on Maryvale's defense, edging within 10-7 on Dorl's third goal. But Maryvale goalkeeper Caroline Federico made two critical saves on free-position attempts by Dorl and junior midfielder Maribeth Anderson, and Ibello scored at the 6:52 mark to restore Maryvale's four-goal lead.
"They had a lot of momentum early in the second half," said the Johns Hopkins-bound Federico, who finished with seven saves. "But I watched the ball and got my body behind it, which is important, especially on a grass field where the bounced shots are harder to gauge."
Despite close guarding, Dorl led Dulaney with three goals. Collie added two goals and one assist for Dulaney, which was coming off a 14-4 loss to Hereford on Friday.
"We didn't put our best foot forward against Hereford, so this game was huge in terms of building our confidence back up," Dulaney coach Kristi Korrow said. "Our composure and our execution were better, and the girls followed the game plan. I'm pleased with how well we played today."
Goals: M — Ibello 5, McWright 3, Hesselbein 2, Doyle, Borchniak, Tizard; D — Dorl 3, Manzoni 2, O'Connor 2, Collie 2. Assists: M — Bochniak 3, Ibello 2, McWright, Doyle; D — Collie, Bundick. Saves: M — Federico 7; D- Meegan 4.
Halftime: M, 6-3