Westminster senior Bethany Baer admitted that her team was a little nervous in the first half of Friday night's state Class 4A-3A girls lacrosse semifinal, but the No. 4 Owls calmed down and took control in the second half en route to a 14-10 victory over C. Milton Wight at Arundel.
"We had a lot of nerves because last year at this time we were pumped up and we came out and we lost the game," Baer said. "That was a horrible feeling, so we were a little scared at the beginning of the game, but we definitely picked it up. We really wanted this."
The Owls, who fell to eventual champion South River in last year's state semifinal, will try to polish off a perfect season with their first state title when they meet the winner of Saturday's other semifinal between No. 15 Severna Park and Churchill for the state championship Tuesday or Wednesday at UMBC.
Friday night, the Owls (16-0) opened with a 4-2 lead on Meghan Macera's free-position goal midway through the first half, but the Mustangs (12-4) rallied with a 5-1 run to take a 6-5 edge at the half on one of Sarah LeBrun's four goals.
Westminster seized the momentum with another Macera goal 35 seconds into the second half, and that started a 6-1 run. Jordan Wilkins scored what would hold up as the game-winner on a free position for an 11-7 lead with 17:58 left.
Goals from Lauren Haggerty and Megan Will cut the lead to 11-9 for the Mustangs, who won their only state title in 2004, with 13:16 left. Baer answered with her third goal and the Mustangs left Alyssa Semones unmarked in the arc for a goal to run the lead back to four with 5:29 left.
No. 5 Marriotts Ridge 8, No. 9 Fallston 7: The Mustangs earned their first trip to a state championship by outlasting Fallston in the earlier game at Annapolis. Marriotts Ridge will play the winner of Saturday's other Class 3A-2A semifinal between Stephen Decatur and No. 8 Century.
Marriotts Ridge (17-1) lost to Century in last year's state semifinal, but the Mustangs got two goals and two assists from Alanna Diffendal. Laura Maskell added two goals. Emily Cooke's goal with nine minutes left gave the Mustangs an 8-6 lead and proved to be the game-winner.
Marriotts Ridge then spread the field and patiently ran out most of the final minutes. Fallston (14-3) got the ball back and scored on an Abby Wilson shot with 2:04 left to cut it to 1, but the Mustangs won the ensuing draw and ran out the clock.
"We decided to hold on to it and run it out," said Marriotts Ridge coach Natalie Gaieski. "They did a good job."
Wilson finished with four goals, all in the second half. She scored all of the Fallston goals in the second half after Marriotts Ridge held a 5-3 halftime lead. The Cougars tied the game at 5 early in the half, but the Mustangs scored twice in 1:54 and never trailed again.
No. 6 Winters Mill 16, Queen Anne's 8: Erin McMunn and Mandy Buell each scored four goals as the host Falcons (14-3) handed the Pride (16-1-1) their first loss of the season in a Class 2A-1A state semifinal at Bel Air.
Winters Mill, the defending state champions, settled down and outscored Queen Anne's 8-3 in the second half. The Falcons face the winner of Patterson Mill (8-9) and Loch Raven (9-5) in the state finals. Winters Mill defeated both of those teams in the final two rounds of states last year.
No. 4 Westminster 14, C. Milton Wright 10
Goals: W—Baer 3, Wilkins 3, Macera 3, Semones 2, Carter 2, Simpson; CMW—LeBrun 4, Haggerty 2, Will 2, Hunter, Moynihan. Assists: W—Baer 2, Semones 2, Haker, Wilkins. CMW—Gallagher 2, LeBrun, Will. Saves: W—Russell 5; CMW—Muscella 6. Half: CMW, 6-5.
Marriotts Ridge 8, Fallston 7
Goals: F- Wilson 4, Nolan 2, Laubach; M- Maskell 2, Diffendal 2, Grote, Cooke, Stukenberg, Hensh. Assists: F- Mosketti; M- Diffendal 2, Stukenberg. Saves: F- Deckert 6, Wagner 4; M- Ortell 6. Halftime: M, 5-3.