With a little more than eight minutes to play in the first half, Century’s girls lacrosse team looked to be on the ropes.
After the Mavs tied the game at 3-all, Knights coach Becky Groves called timeout to tell her team it was putting together what she considered a lackluster performance. Century responded in a big way, closing out the half with four straight goals and rolling to a 17-6 win over Man Valley that clinched the Carroll County Athletic League title.
Moments after the break, junior midfielder Caroline Little broke the tie with a wrap-around score. A minute later, Little struck again off an assist from senior Demma Hall. Hall would assist on the next two goals as well, finding Jasmine Stanton each time as the Knights stretched the lead to 7-3.
“We just felt very rushed initially,” Groves said. “We were forcing the ball and it wasn’t a great option. So, we really wanted to be able to execute [after the break]. We wanted to pull together as a team, possess the ball and play smart.”
After the half, Century (8-0) came out blasting with three goals in the first four minutes to push to a seven goal lead. Little picked up her third goal of the game to open the scoring and was followed by goals from Madison Plitt and Lauren Hackett.
The Mavericks (5-2) briefly broke the run with a goal by Maggie Azzam to make it 10-4, but Century responded with a score by Anna Hackett.
Little led all scorers with five goals for the Knights, while Madison Plitt had three goals and a pair of helpers. Anna Hackett also had three scores, while Hall chipped in four assists.
“We are a really good all-around team,” Little said. “We have a lot of people that can score and we work really well as a team. When we are down, we are able to come back and keep fighting. Man Val is such a great team and they gave us a real run. It’s amazing to see how we were able to come together as a team and take that win.”
Caroline Krauch and Bryce Gerber each had a goal and an assist for Man Valley. The Mavs controlled the clock in the early part of the game with a heavy advantage in draw controls. It was a strategy that paid off early, but the Mavs just couldn’t keep up once Century got in gear.
“We just wanted to come into the game and remained composed,” MV coach Shelly Brezicki said of the team’s early success. “We just made some critical errors and Century is a good team and capitalized on them.”
With a successful regular season completed, the Knights earned an extended weekend break prior to the playoffs beginning. These two teams have the potential to meet again in the first round, with the stakes even higher.
“It’s always good to play good teams,” Brezicki said of facing Century again. “We look forward to any tough competition, that’s how you get better.”
Goals: C-Caroline Little 5, Madison Plitt 3, Anna Hackett 3, Jasmine Stanton 2, Lauren Hackett 2, Demma Hall. MV-Casey Meredith, Kelsee Bittinger, Bryce Gerber, Maggie Azzam, Caroline Krauch, Jordon Gambrill
Assists: C-Hall 4, Plitt 2, Hackett. MV-Krauch, Gerber
Saves: C-3 (Jenelle Balchune); MV-2 (Lauren Baldwin)
Halftime: Century, 7-3