It took just 13 seconds Monday for Marriotts Ridge to set the tone in its Class 3A state quarterfinal game against Rockville.
Sophomore Maisy Clevenger scooped up the first draw and raced down the middle of the field for an unassisted score, and the Mustangs never looked back from there.
By the end of the game, 12 different Marriotts Ridge players had scored a goal on the way to a 23-1 victory. Maggie Merrill (four goals), Caroline Albert (three goals, one assist) and Sofie Bender (two goals, three assists) were the leaders for the Mustangs.
Mustangs coach Amanda Brady said the momentum from the team’s victory over Mt. Hebron to claim the region title last week carried over.
“Coming off Friday’s win was big for us in terms of confidence and I think that it really showed in the way that we played in those first 10 minutes of today’s game,” Brady said. “We have a great team here that is capable of so much, so it was exciting to see them play the way they did and to be peaking at the right moment of the season.”
In those first 10 minutes against No. 5 Rockville (9-3), No. 4 Marriotts Ridge (8-1) won eight draws and scored seven unanswered goals. Bender assisted on three of those scores.
“We’ve always talked about how starting off super strong provides momentum and that was particularly important today against an opponent we didn’t know as much about,” said senior defender Morgan Lee. “I thought we did a great job of picking each other up, playing together right from the beginning and then we just kept that up the rest of the game.”
Lee, who helped the defense hold Rockville scoreless until just over 12 minutes remained in the game, added that the Howard County competition has helped the Mustangs be ready for this stage of the season.
“The competition in the county, from the players to the teams, has helped us improve so much from the start of the season, and I think we are finally now starting to play up to our potential,” she said.
Marriotts Ridge created a running clock with just under nine minutes left in the opening half and led 14-0 at the break. Both the 23 goals offensively and the one goal against defensively are season bests for the team.
The Mustangs now advance to the state semifinals on Wednesday against the winner of No. 8 River Hill and No. 1 Huntingtown. It’s the first time the program has been in the state final four since winning the state championship in 2014.
“This group has never been here … this is new to them. So even though we as a coaching staff have seen it, for them it’s a fresh experience, and that makes it even more important to focus on that mentality of one step at a time,” Brady said. “Playoffs are completely different, and playing for a full 50 minutes is that much more important. Today, I thought we did a great job focusing on what was in front of us.”
Marriotts Ridge 23, Rockville 1
Goals: MR — Maggie Merrill 4, Caroline Albert 3, Sofie Bender 2, Maisy Clevenger 2, Lauren Fisher 2, Anna Hebner 2, Annika Huelskamp 2, Hannah Parsons 2, Sophia Baxter, Mia Berman, Carson Harvill, Ella Walchko; R — Paige Krawczel.
Assists: MR — Bender 3, Harvill 3, Berman 2, Albert, Clevenger, Huelskamp, Walchko.
Saves: MR — Grace Heejebu 4; R — Ashlyn Casp 11.
Halftime: 14-0, MR.