Dulaney freshman attacker Rowan Burke has quickly proven why she belongs on varsity — even at a young age.
The latest example came Monday against Howard in the 4A North region girls lacrosse semifinals, as she scored eight goals and had an assist while helping the Lions to a 16-10 victory
“We started with a pretty fast warm-up — we came out here early,” Burke said. “We got some shots in, a defensive warm-up, we ended up getting here before everyone else and I think that led to our ultimate success. Just coming out prepared and focused — we had our heads in the game before we started.”
“We noticed the goalie was a lefty before the game started. So, we started visualizing where we were going to shoot.”
The game wasn’t just an easy victory for Dulaney, despite a dominant scoring performance.
Dulaney opened up with a 2-0 lead over Howard just over four minutes in, with goals from senior midfielder Mae Dickens and Burke. Howard equalized with two quick goals of its own from Jenna Peed and Leah Spalding just less than three minutes later.
That wouldn’t deter Burke from putting on a display equally of finesse and power to score two more quick goals at 17:11 and 15:30. Once the lead was re-taken by Dulaney at that point, it would not hand it back for the entire contest.
Along with Burke’s eight goals, five other Dulaney players had a goal, including Dickens (two), Rebecca Puente (three), Tess Valentino, Bridget Kelly and Kate Bialczak.
The Dulaney Lions would have a 15-7 lead with 7:38 remaining, but Howard would claw back into the game with their first of three goals coming from Sam Brothers at 4:32 and then two other quick goals with 2:14 and 1:57 remaining respectively. Dulaney would halt the comeback bid with a Burke goal with 30.7 seconds remaining on the clock to seal the victory.
“I think some big keys to the game were our draw controls,” Dulaney head coach Kristi Korrow said. “Emily Persinger was our faceoff, get-off girl — our “fogo” — and she dominated draw controls today and just in directions. Kicking it out to our players and Sammy White had 11 draw controls.
“Due to that, it allowed us to keep control of the game and our possessions on attack. I think we were able to maintain composure and work the ball. Howard has an incredibly athletic team and they’re tough on all levels of the field. I certainly give them credit for putting pressure on us.”
Though Howard’s season has come to an end, they showed a lot of fight to get to the regional semifinal in the first place. Catonsville was their previous opponent and it took everything that they had to push through for a one-goal victory.
Head coach Katelyn Joyce was proud of the effort that her team showed throughout their playoff run.
“My girls aren’t ones to ever give up on it,” Joyce said postgame. “They have fought through every game. We were down the entire Catonsville game on Saturday and won with four seconds left on the clock. They always want to fight to the very end.”
Next season, much of Howard’s roster will return. That continuity could allow for them to build off of this season’s success to make a playoff run.
“We definitely have a lot that we can build off of,” said Joyce of her team. “We’re losing three starters, but I think the athleticism that we have — our ability to move the ball up and down the field — will carry over to next year. It’s just adding those finishing touches on and making sure that we’re always playing our game and not letting the other team dictate.”
Dulaney (9-4) will take on Sherwood (14-0) on the road on Wednesday in the 4A North regional championship matchup.