There will be three Carroll lacrosse teams competing in the state tournament when it begins Friday with hopes to earn a spot in the championship games next week at Stevenson University.
Each team has its own storyline — Century’s girls have never lost a state semifinal game and boast a perfect 12-0 record, while Westminster’s girls secured a spot in the state semis for the first time in six years after defeating Frederick 20-7 for the 3A West title Wednesday.
Westminster’s boys, on the other hand, lost its first game of the season and have won 16 straight since then. The Owls defeated Linganore 10-9 to win the 3A West Region thanks to an overtime game-winner from sophomore midfielder Conner Covey.
Both Westminster teams play their state semifinal Saturday at Mount Hebron High School — the girls (15-2) take on Bel Air at 10 a.m., followed by the boys (16-1) facing Towson at noon.
The Knights (12-4) face Hereford on Friday night at 6 at Northeast High School in Anne Arundel County, and that undefeated state semifinal record certainly isn’t on the team’s radar.
Instead, they’re expecting to face some adversity.
“It is what it is,” Knights coach Becky Groves said, in reference to the team’s undefeated state semi record. “We have a tendency to come ready to play when it gets to playoffs and that’s why the number shows what it shows. It’s game time, it’s that time where if you don’t play well, you’re going home…that’s why it will be a fun game.”
Should the Knights win, they will advance to the state final for the eighth time in 10 seasons. Groves has coached the Knights for eight seasons and has led the team to six appearances in the state tournament.
The team is paced by a slew of underclassmen, from sophomores Christina Haspert (51 goals, 25 assists) and Grace Bruce (46 goals, 7 assists) to freshmen Demma Hall (47 goals, 19 assists), Maddie Bates (17 goals, 19 assists), and Madison Plitt (25 goals, four assists).
“We have to be ready for that roller coaster to go up and down, up and down,” Groves said. “Although we’re young, we’ve played a full season and three games in the playoffs, so we’re ready for that roller coaster.”
Hereford, the Baltimore County champions, defeated Edmondson-Westside and Eastern Tech to advance to the state semifinal. The Bulls (13-1) outscored those playoff opponents 35-3.
Westminster’s girls meet up with a familiar opponent in its state final four clash. Bel Air (15-2) won a 4A-3A state championship last season after beating the Owls in a regional final in overtime.
The rivals faced off two weeks ago in Bel Air, and the Bobcats won 13-9.
The Owls feature a balanced attack, with junior Anna Ruby leading the way (65 points on 52 goals, 13 assists). Hannah Dintino, another junior, is at 52 points (35, 17) and sophomore Chloe Sedlar paces the attackers with 24 assists (50 points).
After that it’s senior Madi Macera and freshman Lauren Saltz, who said she hasn’t felt intimidated in her rookie varsity campaign.
“All the upperclassmen give me so much confidence,” Saltz said after netting four goals against Frederick. “I’m so grateful for all of them. My confidence level has sky-rocketed.”
Westminster’s boys are gunning for the second state title, and first since 2013. The Owls will have to get past Towson first — the Generals (14-4) clipped Bel Air to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2005.