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Westminster girls lacrosse finds balance to pull away from rival Winters Mill

The annual girls lacrosse city rivalry game between Westminster and Winters Mill was a tight one with less than 4 minutes remaining in the first half.

That’s when the Owls faced a turning point and met it with gusto. They scored three in a row for a larger lead, then opened the second half with six consecutive goals and pulled away for a 19-10 victory Tuesday evening.

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Senior midfielder Lauren Saltz led the way with seven goals while sophomore Jess Kent and freshman Riley Ebersole added three goals apiece. Westminster (4-2) enjoyed an early lead only to have Winters Mill storm back and cut the deficit to one, 7-6, with 4:05 to play in the first half.

The Owls went back to work on offense and netted three straight, with Saltz scoring two of them. The Falcons caught a break just before halftime when Becca Thompson poked a loose ball into the goal as time expired, but they couldn’t grab the momentum in the second half.

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Wesminster's Riley Ebersole gets between a pair of Winters Mill defenders as she puts a shot past goalie Heather Morey during a girls lacrosse game at Winters Mill High School on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
Wesminster's Riley Ebersole gets between a pair of Winters Mill defenders as she puts a shot past goalie Heather Morey during a girls lacrosse game at Winters Mill High School on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

When Saltz potted her seventh goal with 13:10 remaining, the Owls led 16-7.

Westminster coach John Brown said he was pleased with a balanced effort, and pointed to 10 assists in the victory.

“That’s what we want to see all year,” Brown said. “If somebody focuses on [Saltz], how do we get other people involved? It’s all about moving without the ball, and we’ve been really preaching that. ... They’re starting to learn the game of lacrosse, and that’s all we really wanted out of this year.”

Sophomore attacker Paige Moreland handed out four of the Owls’ assists, and junior Caylee Vacca had two. Brown used two goalies Tuesday, with junior Sydney Hetrick collecting eight of her team’s 10 saves.

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Winters Mill (2-5) got four goals each from seniors Thompson and Madison Harmening, and two more from fellow senior Katelyn Heffner. The Falcons finished with 17 turnovers, however, many of which led to fastbreaks and scoring chances for the visitors.

Winters Mill's Madison Harmening cuts through the Westminster defense, putting a shot past keeper Gwenn Burns during a girls lacrosse game at Winters Mill High School on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
Winters Mill's Madison Harmening cuts through the Westminster defense, putting a shot past keeper Gwenn Burns during a girls lacrosse game at Winters Mill High School on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Junior goalie Heather Morey did her best to keep WM close with seven saves, but the Owls proved too much on offense.

Westminster fields only a few veteran players with a good bit of varsity experience, and Saltz said the team’s cohesion is improving.

“The upperclassmen are teaching the underclassmen, and taking them under their wing,” Saltz said. “It’s a good environment bringing them up, and hopefully when we leave they’ll be able to step up and play like we did.”

Winters Mill gets set for its Senior Night game Thursday against South Carroll, while Westminster is scheduled to host Liberty that night. Brown and Saltz said the Owls’ strength in their wins has been efficiency on offense and getting as many players as possible involved.

“We have to be a little bit smarter because ... everybody knows we’re built around one returning player who has been around for four years,” the coach said. “There’s other girls who sometimes when she’s out there will defer to her, and that’s not a good thing for us.”

Goals: W-Lauren Saltz 7, Jess Kent 3, Riley Ebersole 3, Bella Dintino 2, Emma Youngling, Annie Schinkai, Kirby Henneman, Kate McAlonan; WM-Madison Harmening 4, Becca Thompson 4, Katelyn Heffner 2

Assists: W-Paige Moreland 4, Caylee Vacca 2, Alyssa Marrapodi, Saltz, Paige Davis, Lauren Appleby; WM-Sophia Barnes 3

Saves: W-10 (Sydney Hetrick 8, Gwenn Burns 2); WM-7 (Heather Morey)

Halftime: Westminster, 10-7

JV result: Westminster, 14-8

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