The Hereford girls lacrosse team dominated in the second half and won its second straight Baltimore County championship over Catonsville, 20-9, on Saturday at Tierney Field at U.S. Lacrosse national headquarters.
Leading 10-7 at halftime the Bulls (12-0) scored the first seven goals of the second half, before Catonsville (11-3) ended a scoring drought of 15:37 on a goal by Sophi Wrisk.
It was Hereford’s seventh straight appearance in the county title game and fifth victory during that span.
The only losses came in 2017 to Dulaney, 14-13, when the Lions scored in the final seconds and to the Comets in 2015, when Catonsville rallied from eight goals down at half.
There was no comeback on Saturday, thanks to a stout defensive effort from Rachel Saunders, Sam Martin, Shannon Feely and Stephanie Joyce, in front of goalie Lindsay Posner (11 saves).
That group held Catonsville’s dynamic scoring trio of Wrisk (3 goals, 1 assist), Lindsey Marshall (2 goals, 1 assist) and Kolby Weedon to just 11 combined shots in the contest.
“We really knew that we had to watch 21 (Weedon), 3 (Marshall) and 1 (Wrisk), so we really focused on them not scoring,” Saunders said. “I would go on my girl and would call my defense, ‘Guys come, I’m leaving,’ and then I would go and double, so we always sent one to go (double) because they were definitely their top players.”
Hereford had its own dominant scorers, but the one that dented the net most often was sophomore attacker Lindsay Clarke who led the Bulls with eight goals and one assist.
Senior Isabella Peterson scored four and her younger sister Jordan had two goals, while Libby May had seven points (five goals, two assists) and Martha Kaestner added a tally for the Bulls.
Catonsville also got three goals from Anna Kearney and one from Abbi Boehl.
The key to the first half was draw possession and the combination of the Peterson sisters led to the Bulls winning 7 of 11 in the half.
“It was nice they were able to switch that up and keep it in the family,” Catonsville coach Cantey Bailey said.
Hereford won 18 of 30 draws overall.
“Whoever had more draw controls was going to win that game,” Hereford coach Anne Ensor said.
The only lead the Comets had came on Wrisk’s goal 39 seconds into the game after Marshall took the draw and Weedon won control.
May’s free-position goal 54 seconds later tied it at 1-1 and Clarke’s score free-position tally made it 2-1.
Marshall’s assist to Kearney with 21:08 left knotted the score at 2, but May scored when the Bulls were a player up with 19:49 left, to start a run of five of the next six goals for a 7-3 lead.
Catonsville’s best stretch came when they scored three straight goals to cut the lead back to 7-6.
Kearney followed her own saved shot with a goal to start the rally with 9:30 left until intermission.
Wrisk added a free-position goal with 7:50 remaining and Marshall made it 7-6, with 6:03 left, while the Comets were two players up.
That was the only goal during the player advantage for the Comets and with a player down the Bulls capitalized with a free position goal by Isabella and another by Jordan Peterson for a 9-6 lead.
Another free-position goal by May pushed the advantage to 10-6 before Marshall scored the Comets final goal before their drought with 1:22 left in the half.
Six of Hereford’s 10 goals in the first half were from free positions and they finished with eight overall.
Hereford scored seven unanswered goals in 8:54 in the second half and goalie Posner made some key stops during that stretch.
“The defense did a good job of getting to the stick, so I think the shooters were rushed and it gives the goalie a much better chance and Lindsay did a great job,” Ensor said. “She (Posner) was dipping her stick at first and then she was coming out high and I think she had three of four saves that could have swung the momentum very quickly.”
The Comet attack also had trouble with the Bulls pressure defense.
“We let their physicality get to our heads and I thought we were ready for it, but we let it get to our heads,” said Bailey, who hopes her squad will regroup for the regional playoffs. “This doesn’t count for our state record, it’s for bragging rights and they definitely deserved it and very good for them, but after every goal we have our team bring it in and we say ‘Goldfish,’ you let it go because a goldfish has a 10-second memory, so I said you have to goldfish this loss right here.”
Although it was a tough loss for the Catonsville seniors, they were turning their attention to a better evening.
“We’ve got eight seniors and the senior prom is tonight, so you’ve got to let it go and have fun tonight,” Bailey said.
Those seniors include Savannah Beaver, Maggie Marion, Boehl, Natalie Aponte, Carly Gibbons, Emma Meacham, Amber Stephen and Astrid Jensen.
Hereford also has its senior prom tonight for six seniors and beyond that a goal of reaching the state finals for the second straight year, after losing to Glenelg, 6-5, last year.
“That’s the plan,” said Saunders, who has played 12 varsity seasons (soccer, basketball, lacrosse). “I’m most confident in every single part. There is no part that we are really lacking. We have played tougher teams that have taken out Isabel and Libby, who seem to be our star players on attack and then our other attackers really step up.”
Goals: Lindsay Clarke 8, Libby May 5, Isabella Peterson 4, Jordan Peterson 2, Martha Kaestner 1
Assists: May 2, Clarke 1, Chloe Parker 1.
Saves: Lindsay Posner 11
Goals: Sophi Wrisk 3, Anna Kearney 3, Lindsey Marshall 2, Abbi Boehl 1.
Assists: Wrisk 1, Boehl 1.
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Saves: Naomi Lauderbaugh 6, Astrid Jensen 1.