Tuesday's girls lacrosse county matchup between Century and Manchester Valley brought out a game changer for both teams.
For Century, it was Kelsey Morrison, a senior midfielder who stepped in for the draw in the second half to sway the ball in the Knights' favor. Manchester Valley senior goalie Becca Wade notched a 10-save game and stopped a number of point-blank shots to keep the Knights at bay.
But the Knights pulled out the 10-7 victory, and each goal was scored by an underclassman. Sophomores Christina Haspert and Grace Bruce led the way with three goals apiece. Haspert added an assist.
"We know that our team as a whole is young, so we know that everyone needs to step up because we don't have a lot of upperclassmen to lead the way," Bruce said. "The ones that do, do a good job at it. What also makes the connection strong is we'll have each other for most of the rest of high school, so starting that connection young will make it stronger in the future."
The teams were tied 4-4 at the half and played close in that 25-minute span. Wade stopped Century freshman Demma Hall's free-position shot with 10:28 remaining, keeping the Knights from gaining a 3-1 lead. Mavs senior midfielder Tayler Warehime scored the first of her four goals, after recovering a blocked free-position attempt, to tie it up at 2-2.
Bruce netted a goal off the free position, but Warehime responded a second time less than a minute later. Haspert's free-position tally sent the teams into halftime tied.
Knights coach Becky Groves said the team's goal heading into Tuesday's game was to finish its shots. Winning the draw in the second half seemed to pick up the team's confidence.
"It was huge," Groves said. "I think Kelsey Morrison really stepped up on the draw and we had some really good finishes. Grace had a few in that second half and we came out and our goal was to come out and finish shots because we were in it and it worked. I think we did a good job as a team to try and do that."
The Knights used a three-goal run to gain a 7-4 lead through the first eight minutes of play in the second half. Warehime trimmed that deficit with her third tally of the game, off an assist from Lauren Cremen, to make it 8-5.
Each team scored twice more, but Century's early second-half push kept them just over the top.
Mavs coach Shelly Brezicki said this game proved to be the best defensive effort she's seen from her side so far this season, despite a few lapses here and there. Groves praised Wade's performance in goal as the Mavericks' difference maker, as did Brezicki.
"She's been consistent all year, she's the backbone of our defense," Brezicki said. "She really gets our kids going and another great game for her. It's just something to look forward to as we move into the next game."
Goals: C-Madison Plitt, Maddie Bates, Christina Haspert 3, Demma Hall 2, Grace Bruce 3; MV-Lauren Cremen, Tayler Warehime 4, Mia Alvarez, Mackenzie D'Anthony.