Judging by the way Glenelg was winning the draw during the majority of Friday’s 2A West Region I championship, Century coach Becky Groves knew a run was coming.
That’s why, as the Gladiators rattled off four straight goals in a five-minute span in the latter stages of the second half to trim the Knights lead to one, she wasn’t panicking as she called timeout with 9:19 remaining. It was simply time to shift the momentum.
“I just said, ‘who is going to step up and make a play.’ We just needed one big play to turn us around and stop the momentum,” Groves said. “We were fine, I knew we still had it, we just needed someone to step up and make a play.”
As it turned out, that player was junior defender Abby Fleishell.
After Glenelg won another draw and fired a shot just wide that would have tied the game, Fleishell outran everyone to the corner to create a turnover and get possession back for her team. Century (11-0) went down on its ensuing possession and capitalized with a free position goal from Demma Hall (4 goals, 3 assists) to retake control and set the stage for a 11-8 victory over the previously undefeated Gladiators (7-1).
“[Glenelg] is incredible. With the athletes that they have on that team from end to end, you knew it was bound to happen that they were going to put it together,” Groves said. “So it just becomes a question of whether you can withstand the storm. And that’s what we did.”
On a rainy evening, Century held host Glenelg to its lowest offensive total of the season despite the Gladiators winning 15 of 19 draws on the backs of Isa Torres and Maura Murphy. To make up for it, the Knights helped force Glenelg into double-digit turnovers.
“We had to lock in … if they were going to win the draw, we just had to be that much more focused defensively to make up for it,” Fleishell said. “We knew what we had to do and communicated with each other all game.”
With the region championship victory, Century advances to the state quarterfinals. The eight region winners will be reseeded based on record, with the unbeaten Knights likely to host a quarterfinal matchup on Monday.
For Glenelg, which had scored at least 14 goals in every game this spring and won all seven of its previous games by double digits, the hole that the team dug in the first half — falling behind 4-1 in the first 12 minutes — proved to be too deep to recover from.
“Sometimes things don’t bounce your way. It seemed like unlucky play after unlucky play kept going against us. A turnover here, a call there and before you know it you look up and you’re down a handful of goals,” Glenelg coach Alex Pagnotta said. “We made a couple bad decisions today when we were pushing the ball upfield that cost us, some things we haven’t done all season and some of that is playing against a really quality team. We just never put it together until it was a little too late.”
In addition to Hall, Century also got big offensive efforts from Lauren Hackett (3 goals), Madison Plitt (2 goals, 1 assist) and Jasmine Stanton (2 goals). Goalie Jenelle Baichune made three big saves, while Fleishell and sophomore Jane Brewer led the defensive effort to limit shooting space for Glenelg players all game.
Lauren LaPointe (3 goals) and Isa Torres (2) finished as the multi-goal scorers for the Gladiators in the loss.
After both teams took the first five minutes to feel one another out, Century struck first with 19:35 left in the first half on a goal from Hackett following a Glenelg turnover on a clearing attempt. Hall followed with a free position goal two minutes later and the Knights were off and running.
Glenelg stayed in touch most of the first half but never drew back even. A score by Stanton with four seconds left in the first half made it 7-4 at the break.
Century increased its advantage to five, 9-4, following two unanswered goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
However, that’s when Glenelg finally got going. LaPointe scored an unassisted tally with just over 14 minutes left and from there, the Gladiators kept building. It was following LaPointe’s third score of the game with just over nine minutes left that the deficit was trimmed to one and Century had to call its second timeout.
Following the defensive stop by the Knights, it was Hall’s turn to deliver. The senior, who came into the game with 29 goals and 34 assists on the season, said she just trusted her instincts in the big moments and that allowed her to halt the Glenelg run with a goal of her own.
“I feel like it’s less about pressure in that moment and more about trusting that this is something I’ve been doing my whole life and I know what needs to be done,” Hall said. “I put myself in the zone, told myself I could handle it and after that all I had to do was finish.”
After Hall’s score, there were still seven minutes left. But Century took over possession with just under five minutes remaining and never lost the ball again — playing keep away by passing it around the perimeter. Then with time expiring, Hall found Plitt in front of an empty net for the exclamation point on the victory.
Groves said she encouraged her team to enjoy this one, but to also remember that there is still work to be done.
“You take today to celebrate and then tomorrow you get back to work,” she said. “You want to be able to enjoy the victories, while at the same time keeping the end goal in mind.”
Century 11, Glenelg 8
Goals: C — Demma Hall 4, Lauren Hackett 3, Madison Plitt 2, Jasmine Stanton 2; G — Lauren LaPointe 3, Isa Torres 2, Sophie Cipolla 1, Molly Metz 1, Emma Kennedy 1.
Assists: C — Hall 3, Plitt 1, Delaney Sandbank 1; G — Reese Allnutt 1, Metz 1.
Saves: C — Jenelle Baichune 3; G — Jocelyn Torres 7.
Halftime: 7-4 C.
OTHER GIRLS LACROSSE SCORES:
No. 1 Marriotts Ridge 15, No. 2 Mt. Hebron 10 (3A East Region I)
For the first time since 2014, the Mustangs (7-1) secured a region championship and did so by securing a season sweep of the Vikings (5-4). Maisy Clevenger scored five goals and Sofie Bender was right behind her with four goals and an assist to lead the offensive charge.
Ashley Unkenholz (4 goals) and Audrey Harrington (3 goals, assist) were the scoring leaders in the loss for Mt. Hebron.
As the 3A East Region I champion, Marriotts Ridge will be among eight teams re-seeded by regular season record for the state bracket. The state quarterfinals begin on Monday.
Goals: MR — Clevenger 5, Bender 4, L. Fisher 3, Merrill 2, Huelskamp 1; MH — Unkenholz 4, Harrington 3, Barke 2, Pak 1.
Assists: MR — Bender 1, Huelskamp 1; MH — Harrington 1.
Saves: MR — Hejeebu 3; MH — Lloyd 12.
Halftime: 8-4 MR.
No. 3 River Hill 13, No. 1 Atholton 4 (3A East Region II)
After losing their first four games this spring, the Hawks (3-4) made history on Friday with their victory over the Raiders (5-3) — securing the program’s first region championship.
Molly Maloney (3 goals, 3 assists), Claire Slade (3 goals) and Maddie Vasilios (3 goals) paced the River Hill offense, but just as important to the victory was the effort by the team’s defense which allowed its fewest goals against all season. Additionally, the four goals are the fewest scored by Atholton all year.
With the 3A East Region II championship, River Hill will be among eight teams re-seeded by regular season record for the state bracket. The state quarterfinals are scheduled to begin Monday.
Goals: RH — Maloney 3, Slade 3, Vasilios 3, Deng 2, Schwab 2; A — N/A.
Assists: RH — Maloney 3, Ferrer 1, Kim 1; A — N/A.
Halftime: 7-2 RH.
No. 2 Glenelg 16, No. 1 Century 6 (2A West Region I)
No. 3 River Hill 11, No. 1 Reservoir 8 (3A East Region II)
The Hawks (3-6) won their third straight game, completing a season sweep of the Gators (4-3), and with it secured the program’s first region championship since 2015.
Jack Burns (3 goals, 3 assists), Tyler Sutch (3 goals, assist) and Devin Campbell (2 goals, assist) each scored multiple goals in the win for River Hill. Kyle Henry anchored the Hawks defense with 13 saves.
In the loss, Reservoir’s Sean Maruschak and Steven Musser scored three goals apiece.
The Hawks claim the 3A East Region II championship and will be among eight teams re-seeded by regular season record for the state bracket.
Goals: RH — Jack Burns 3, Tyler Sutch 3, Devin Campbell 2, Will Gochar 1, Wes Brunett 1, Nate Bacon 1; Re — Sean Maruschak 3, Steven Musser 3, Jakota Parker 1, Hezekiah Jones 1.
Assists: RH — Burns 3, Campbell 1, Sutch 1; Re — Jones 1, Graham Leary 1, Joey Schinner 1.
Saves: RH — Kyle Henry 13; Re — Nickolas Hoover 11.
Halftime: 7-2 RH.