Westminster goalie Sara Tyssowski looks to fire an outlet pass while getting chased by Marriotts Ridge's Erin Cooke in the first half. Marriotts Ridge defeats visiting Westminster 15-8 Thursday afternoon in Marriottsville.
Westminster goalie Sara Tyssowski looks to fire an outlet pass while getting chased by Marriotts Ridge's Erin Cooke in the first half. Marriotts Ridge defeats visiting Westminster 15-8 Thursday afternoon in Marriottsville. (Doug Kapustin / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Marriotts Ridge midfielder Eloise Clevenger bolted free and let it fly. The Westminster girls’ lacrosse team had employed four different defenses, all which centered around containing the sophomore and her slippery maneuvers.

But no matter the philosophy, Clevenger had her way.

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Not long after Westminster made it a two-score game Thursday, Clevenger buried her third goal the same way she scored her second — on a wrap-around from the left side. And despite being face-guarded for most of the second half, Clevenger added her fourth and fifth strikes the same way she scored her first — in the slot on the break.

Clevenger finished the night with six points (five goals and an assist) and, more importantly, powered Marriotts Ridge to a decisive 15-8 victory over Westminster. Her teammate Victoria Hensh put together a five-goal night of her own.

“Eloise is so slippery,” Hensh said with a wide smile. “[The win] shows how much potential we have. Our whole motto this year is ‘rising up’ and ‘peaking at the right time.’ That’s what we want to focus on. It’s great seeing such a competitive team early, because next week, we’re rolling with Glenelg, which is going to be a blood battle.”

Hensh, a senior captain on attack, experienced shades of a literal blood battle Thursday between two of the top teams in the Baltimore area. In the second half, Hensh had to change from her white No. 6 jersey to No. 14 because of a blood stain she got during a scrap for the ball.

“It’s great competition to help us get ready for Glenelg,” Hensh said.

Clevenger established Marriotts Ridge’s game plan 26 seconds into the contest, as Emma Miller secured the opening draw (winning 14 of 25 draws) and quickly advanced it to set up Clevenger’s first of five strikes: a quick-hitter in the slot off a feed from Erin Cooke behind the net.

Anna Ruby, the senior midfielder who helped carry Westminster to its first girls lacrosse state title last year in Class 3A, tied it on a free position goal minutes later. A Clevenger-to-Hensh strike and Lauren Fisher weak-side goal off the cross-crease feed from Katie Thompson nudged the Mustangs (3-0) ahead, 3-1.

“I think coming right down off the draw and getting a goal in quick set the tone, set the momentum for the rest of the team,” Clevenger said.

Marriotts Ridge out-shot Westminster 11-5 in the first half on the way to staking itself to a 5-3 lead going into the intermission.

Hannah Dintino pulled Westminster within one off a free-position chance 2:14 into the second half, but that’s when Clevenger buried back-to-back wrap-around scores to kick start a 4-0 run and create leads of 6-4 and 7-4. Hensh capped the run by slicing through the teeth of the Owls’ defense to make it 8-4 and and then firing a rocket from straightaway off a ground ball to increase the lead to five.

Katie Thompson and Cooke added two goals apiece for the Mustangs.

“The big takeaway for us is we can be a 50-minute team and play for 50 minutes,” Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady said. “That’s something we’ve been stressing to them.”

As for Westminster (1-1), which looks to find a new identity this spring, the team just couldn’t settle in defensively and generate enough chances on offense.

“It always comes down to possessions,” Westminster coach Jackie Stevens said. “Marriotts Ridge is a great team; well coached. At this point, it’s a learning experience. We have to see our strengths and our weaknesses. We just have to move up from here.”

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Goals: MR-Eloise Clevenger 5, Victoria Hensh 5, Katie Thompson 2, Erin Cooke 2; Gracie Kennedy; W-Sophie Fischer 2, Anna Ruby 2, Katie Pettine, Faith Chmielewski, Lauren Saltz, Chloe Sedlar.

Assists: MR-G. Kennedy 4, Cooke 2, Clevenger 2, Thompson, Acadia Noll; W-Ruby 2, Sedlar, Saltz.

Saves: MR-3 (Olivia Ranta); W-6 (Sara Tyssowski).

Half: MR, 5-3.

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