Marriotts Ridge field hockey goalie Grace Tolle isn’t sure whether or not she knew it was sudden death.
After the Mustangs ended regulation, first and second overtime and the penalty shootout tied with No. 1 Hereford in the MPSSAA Class 2A semifinals, Tolle said she was only focused on two things — the ball, and a trip to the state championship.
Emma Gladstein scored for No. 5 Marriotts Ridge to start the sudden-death shootout, and Tolle stopped the Bulls’ attacker to give Marriotts Ridge the 2-1 victory and send the Mustangs to the state title.
“(The officials) said it was sudden death, but in the moment I was just focused on stopping the ball. I just knew I needed to stop it," Tolle said. “Making it this far was better than we could’ve ever imagined. This is an amazing feeling.”
Marriotts Ridge goalie Grace Tolle talks Mustangs field hockey after their 2-1 win over Hereford to advance to the Class 2A championship game.
“After she stopped it, she didn’t make a lot of emotion," said Marriotts Ridge head coach Stacie Gado. "In my head, I said, ‘Grace doesn’t know we just won the game,' because she wasn’t on the side with us when we were clarifying that it was sudden death. ... Grace is an all-around competitor. I don’t need to say much to her. She has enough athletic skill and experience that I don’t want to over coach her.”
The last time Marriotts Ridge made the state championship game was 2015, when the Mustangs lost to Hereford. They’ll take on No. 3 Oakdale (13-3) for the crown at Washington College in Chestertown on Saturday.
“To come out and play them again and beat them means a lot,” Gado said. “These girls weren’t on the team, but some of their older sisters played. It is, for me, very exciting.”
Gado said sending Gladstein, a senior captain, up for the first sudden-death penalty shot was a no-brainer. Gladstein leads Marriotts Ridge with 13 goals this season and made her attempt in the first shootout, which ended in a 2-2 tie.
“Emma has been waiting for this moment since her freshman year,” Gado said. “Her stick skills are phenomenal.”
Neither team scored in the first half of the game at Broadneck High School in Annapolis. The cold, rainy night led to sloppy play from both teams early.
Marriotts Ridge (11-3-1) drew first blood 10 minutes into the second half when Kayla Brusco deflected a reverse chip by Gladstein into the cage to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
Hereford (12-3) answered back with 8:39 remaining on a goal from junior Molly Daw. The equalizer sent the game to overtime, and despite both teams drawing multiple corners, neither squad could find the back of the cage.
Gladstein and freshman Sophia Baxter scored for Marriotts Ridge in the first shootout to give Marriotts Ridge a 2-0 lead with only two Hereford attempts left. Chloe Parker and Sydney Powell both scored, though, and Hereford goalie Sara Hallameyer had two impressive stops to send the game to sudden death.
“I’ve never had a comeback team, and they’ve done that multiple times this season,” said Hereford coach Caitlin Duvall. "Them coming back twice in this game shows a lot about their character. They have great heart. They believe in themselves, and the never give up.
Duvall was quick to commend her eight-player senior class — Grace Noone, Kelsey Knight, Anna Brandt, Brooke Overmier, Katie Martino, Hallameyer, Powell and Parker — for their contributions to the program over the last four years.