Marriotts Ridge dominated on draws, repeatedly made perfect passes and kept finding high-percentage shots. That's why the Mustangs didn't need much time to turn Saturday's Class 3A-2A state semifinal with Hereford into a rout.
This one belonged to No. 4 Marriotts Ridge right from the start. The Mustangs scored twice in the first 61 seconds, posted 12 goals before No. 8 Hereford even got off a shot and cruised to a 19-3 victory over the Bulls at Annapolis.
Marriotts Ridge (16-2) will try for a second straight state title when it plays Oakdale — 10-8 winners over Stephen Decatur on Saturday — at UMBC on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
The Mustangs had surprisingly little trouble in this contest. They scored the game's first 12 goals in just under 15 minutes, kept winning draws, and Hereford (17-1) needed nearly 17 minutes to simply get off a shot. Marriotts Ridge has been inconsistent at times early in games, but the Mustangs quickly put it all together in the opening minutes of this one.
"They brought it," Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady said. "That's [our] best first half of the season."
The format remained the same throughout. Marriotts Ridge won 11 of the first 14 first draws, quickly raced downfield and made great passes that set up good shots. The Mustangs scored five goals in the first 5:31 and never looking back.
"I think [in] that first five minutes, they came out winning that game and we came out hanging on," Hereford coach Anne Ensor said. "We just couldn't get our hands on the ball."
The Bulls also couldn't stop the Marriotts Ridge offense. Taylor Hensh led the way on draws and added four goals and three assists. Marissa Davey also scored seven points thanks to six goals and one assist.
Alexis Zadjura (three goals, two assists) gave the Mustangs another spark, scoring most of her points on the free-position shots they kept drawing. Davey said Marriotts Ridge focused on draw control, quick passes and good shot placement, and came through in all three areas.
"We knew they were going to come out hard; we had to [answer]," Davey said. "We knew they were undefeated, and we really wanted to be that team to give them the blemish."
Hereford finally scored on Sarah Ashwood's shot with 6:43 left in the half, making it 12-1. The Mustangs then reeled off seven in a row for a 19-1 second-half lead.
Hensh is a four-year starter who will play at Maryland next year. She has 82 goals and 39 assists this season and wants to go out in style.
"I want to win a state title so badly," Hensh said. "That was one of our [goals] this year."
Class 3A-2A State Semifinal
No. 4 Marriotts Ridge 19, No. 8 Hereford 3
Goals: H-Ashwood, Katchmar, Brown; M-Davey 6, Hensh 4, A. Zadjura 3, Corbliss 2, Souder 2, Miller, Geiger. Assists: H- Kovinsky; M- Hensh 3, A. Zadjura 2, Davey, Souder, Kerr. Saves: H- Nozemack 4; M- Ortell 2, Moore 4. Halftime: M, 13-1.