Michaela Connolly patiently waited outside the shooting circle for an opportunity to feed one of her Century teammates the ball.
As soon as a player emerged into open space, Connolly made the connection and the ball ended up in the back of the opponent's net on multiple occasions — six times to be exact.
The senior midfielder paced the Knights to an 18-10 victory over Winters Mill on Wednesday, finishing with five goals and six assists. Freshman midfielder Grace Bruce scored five times and freshman attacker Christina Haspert notched three tallies and an assist for the Knights (8-1, 3-0 county).
"I really think it's a big team effort because we're moving the ball and then working together," Knights coach Becky Groves said. "Michaela does a nice job seeing the open girl but we have other players on our team that do a good job of seeing the open girl as well. It's really working together and timing the cuts to come off of each other."
Winters Mill garnered a 3-1 lead in the first seven minutes and Groves was visibly not pleased with the way her Knights started. Haspert and Connolly each scored twice to give the Knights a two-goal advantage with 11 minutes left to play in the first half.
The Falcons answered back with goals from Anna Diffendal and Sarah Rhoads to tie at at 5-5 with 7:26 to go, but Century retaliated with two more goals for a 7-5 lead. Senior defender Caroline Glenn was issued a second yellow card with 4:51 remaining in the first and her absence opened the door for underclassmen to get more playing time.
"We were playing seven freshmen," Groves said. "I think our leadership has really set the tone this year. We have a lot of young players but Michaela, Caroline, Julia [Hatmaker], and even Kylie [Davis] from the sidelines, are doing a great job kind of molding our team."
"Everybody works really well together," Connolly said. "We all get along really well and I think when you have that good team chemistry, it makes it really easy to feel comfortable on the field."
Diffendal scored her second goal of the night off the opening draw to start the second half. Winters Mill trailed 9-7, but Century scored three straight to take a 12-7 lead with 20 minutes still to play. The Knights controlled the rest of the game, winning the draws and causing turnovers at the right moments to pull away.
"The draw control is key," Groves said. "We've had one loss this season and we lost the draw controls that game too. The other team possessed the ball and we did not so possession is so key — to have goalie saves, it changes the game drastically and if we have the ball, they can't score."
Senior goalie Hannah Basso, who is playing lacrosse for the first time, made 10 saves in goal for the Knights. Winters Mill goalie Hailey Bennett made eight saves for the Falcons (6-4, 1-3).
"We knew coming in today that Century was a really good team," Falcons coach Amalie Trentzsch said. "We definitely respect every team in the county and we knew this was going to be one of our big games of the year. We talked all week in practice about doing the little things and we did not execute them tonight. We talk about doing the little things and the big things will come together and unfortunately the draw just killed us tonight."
Goals: C-Michaela Connolly 5, Christina Haspert 3, Kelsey Morrison, Julia Hatmaker 2, Grace Bruce 5, Kayleigh Hiles, Abby Bloomer; WM-Anna Diffendal 4, Sarah Rhoads 3, Abby Howard, Shannon Snyder 2.
Assists: C-Connolly 6, Haspert; WM-Sophie Pusateri 2.
Saves: C-10 (Hannah Basso); WM-7 (Hailey Bennett).
Halftime: Century, 9-6.