With open space in front of her, Maisy Clevenger dodged downhill quickly, getting her defender off balance. Gaining separation, the Mustangs’ junior midfielder fired the shot into the back of the net early in the second half for her fourth goal of the day.
That epitomized Clevenger’s speed and quick dodging ability as she shined with a team-high five goals, also an adding an assist, in Marriotts Ridge’s 17-5 victory over Mt. Hebron.
The game had added meaning for Clevenger and her family, as the Mustangs (4-2, 3-0) teamed up with the Headstrong Foundation’s Game Hair Havoc event, which raises money for families dealing with and affected by cancer. Marriotts Ridge dedicated the fundraising event to Clevenger’s mother, Elizabeth, who is battling breast cancer.
“It’s awesome, it’s the best feeling in the world and I know my family appreciates it so much,” Clevenger said. “Just knowing that everybody has my back and that my family’s not alone especially since it’s such a hard thing to go through it’s by far one of the best feelings ever.
“I think having my mom in the stands, knowing that just we had those announcements, knowing that she knows this game is for her,” Clevenger added. “It pushed me harder than any other game.”
While Clevenger excelled, the Mustangs’ offense was well-balanced with five different goal scorers. Hayley Lettinga tallied four goals, while Sophia Baxter and Sofie Bender tallied hat tricks. Caroline Albert added two goals, rounding out a strong offensive performance for the Mustangs.
All five players galvanized Marriotts Ridge’s offense with excellent ball movement. After both teams exchanged the opening four goals, Marriotts Ridge began to build separation. The Mustangs scored four straight goals over an eight-minute stretch to take a 6-2 lead midway through the first half. Lettinga scored on a diving effort just before the first-half buzzer to make it 8-3 at the break.
“Defensively, we found the holes and we just kept doing what was working,” Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady said. “I think that gained momentum and it gained confidence with the girls knowing that they were able to finish. They were actually playing off the sets really well. I think giving them that freedom to play a little free has really helped us because we do have some really great players that want to be creative found those holes and put it in the back of the net.”
The Mustangs momentum kept growing in the second half. Clevenger scored back-to-back goals in the opening three minutes, pushing Marriotts Ridge’s lead to seven. Lettinga scored twice and Bender added one extending the Mustangs’ lead to 13-3 with 15 minutes remaining.
The Mustang defense also excelled, slowing down the Vikings attack. After Mt. Hebron (3-2, 2-1) found some openings near the crease early on, Marriotts Ridge’s defense was stifling the remainder of the way. Hope Hettinger, Amanda Windsor, Emi Moran and Camryn Fisher anchored the backend for the Mustangs getting sticks in the passing lanes, preventing Mt. Hebron from converting in tight opportunities.
“We work very hard on trying to move the ball in practice,” Mt. Hebron coach Samantha Hall said. “We just have to move the ball faster. Marriotts Ridge made a good adjustment sending a double faster to the crease player or just marking up on our cutters after those first couple goals. We just have to be more creative players and see more openings.”