Atholton girls lacrosse dominates possession in win over Long Reach

Atholton dominated time of possession against Long Reach Friday, and took advantage to build a 10-0 halftime lead, which propelled a 13-2 victory.

Yes, very excited that we got lots of touches on the ball tonight,” said Raiders coach Kelly Keefe. “We had a confidence built with our younger and improving players. I thought possession was very important, especially in that game.”

Atholton (4-4 county, 4-8 overall) won six of eight draw controls in the first half, including six of seven within the first 20 minutes.

Kelley Flynn gained the opening possession off the circle and after about a minute settled on offense, Rachel Foster put away a pass from Olivia Chory to get the Raiders their first goal of the game.

Foster won the ensuing draw and quickly got it down to Ella Farris, who took about 10 seconds off the clock before scoring Atholton’s second of the day.

Foster assisted Farris once more with 20 minutes remaining in the half to add to the lead, while Long Reach (0-5, 1-7) had an opportunity to cut into the deficit after Lindsey Smith won the ensuing draw.

The Lightning earned back-to-back free positions on one of its longest offensive sets of the day, but the Raiders’ Madison Eaton made three consecutive stops to preserve the shutout.

“Defense is something that we’ve been playing a lot of this season, so our defense is getting lots of practice and lots of experience this season with that,” Keefe said. “Defensively we’ve been working a lot on sliding and cutters, and being more vocal to stay on the same page and I thought they did great with that tonight the few times the ball was down there.”

Farris, Foster and Flynn helped Atholton gain possession on the next five off the circle, which resulted in goals by Foster, Chory, Burton and Brooke Merwitz to give the Raiders a 10-0 cushion with a few minutes remaining in the half.

Smith won her second draw of the game just before the half, which led to another free position opportunity. But Atholton did well crashing on the attempt, forcing the shot wide and holding onto shut out.

“We’re better than that. We have the potential to score more goals,” said Long Reach coach Amanda Durso. “That was our lowest scoring game by a long shot. We scored more goals against Reservoir and Centennial, but they are a really good team and we tried our best. We keep improving and that’s kind of been the theme for our season to keep improving and get better for next year.”

The Raiders came out of the half and remained patient within their offense, working the ball around and running their sets.

Kelley Flynn added to the lead with 22:37 left, working herself inside the crease and finishing past the Lightning’s Leah McClelland.

Flynn earned possession on the ensuing draw, but Long Reach stayed firm defensively causing two turnovers in the stanza and held the Raiders scoreless for an eight-minute stretch.

Lilly Decelles broke through for Atholton with 15:31, finishing on a free position to push the score to 12-0.

Long Reach ended the run five minutes later, as Sofia Roberts took advantage of a caused turnover, picking up the ground ball and running it down field to earn a free position at the other end. She then slotted her shot past Eaton to get her team on the board with 10:50 remaining.

Valerie Haney won possession on the ensuing draw and took 11 seconds off the clock before capping off the Lightning’s offensive night.

Atholton held on the rest of the way, with Hailey Maddox adding one more with 4:17 remaining to solidify the 13-2 outcome.

“I think they come in day in and day out just like any other team in the county. Practicing every day, every Saturday, so it is really nice to see the hard work and the practice does pay off,” Keefe said. “There are really, really strong teams out here. The competition level in the county is growing each year, which is awesome for the game of lacrosse.”

The Lightning played well defensively considering the Raiders held possession for most of the match.

As a team Long Reach forced nine turnovers, while McClelland finished with six saves.

“I thought our defense did a really great job and I think all season long our defense does a fantastic job,” Durso said. “I think especially in the second half when Atholton was trying to run their motion a little bit more we held them to [three goals], but I think our defense constantly does a really great job.”

The Lightning celebrated their four seniors, Jade Miller, Alex Rivera-Martinez, Juliann Gracia and Sokjalena Nay, during the game. They all contributed strong efforts throughout the contest.

“They are just a really great group of girls,” Durso said. “Alex, she is the just the absolute hardest working girl on our field. She is going to join the Marines next year and is just an absolute amazing athlete. Juliann as well has been in the game all year for us, as well as Ebele, Jade and [Nay]. They always got out there and try their best. They are just a positive, great group of girls.”

Foster led Atholton with two goals and three assists, while Chory followed with a team-high three goals and an assist. Eaton finished with three saves in net.

“We’ve definitely seen improvement this year,” Foster said. “We have a very young team and a lot of people who have never played before, so me and Kelley as captains, and Ella and Paige as a senior and sophomore that is committed, we really try to help the girls out there. I really think from the first game until know we’ve had so much improvement just catching and throwing and the fundamentals.”

Both teams are back in action Tueday, with the Raiders hosting Glenelg and the Lightning visiting Oakland Mills.

Atholton 13, Long Reach 2

A (4-4 county, 4-8 overall), LR (0-5, 1-7)

Goals: A — Chory 3, Foster 2, Farris 2, Flynn 1, B. Merwitz 1, Decelles 1, Flores 1, Burton 1, Gryski 1; LR— Roberts 1, Haney 1.
Assists: A — Foster 3, Chory 1, Gryski 1.
Saves: A — Eaton 3; LR — McClelland 6.

Halftime: 10-0, Atholton.


Around the league:

Reservoir 14, Wilde Lake 2

It was a productive day for Reservoir senior Michelle Armstrong. She not only led her team with six goals on the day to help the Gators clinch their third straight win Friday, but also eclipsed the 100-goal milestone for her varsity career.

Alex Sadzewicz and Haley Tiller followed offensively for Reservoir, combining for six goals and six assists in the win, while Elizabeth Hyde made two stops in net.

Both teams resume play Tuesday, with the Gators visiting Mt. Hebron and the Wildecats hosting Hammond.

Re (6-3 county, 7-5 overall), WL (1-4, 4-6)

Goals: Re —Armstrong 6, Sadzewicz 3, Tiller 3, Rowell 1, Guchait 1.
Assists: Re — Sadzewicz 4, Tiller 2, Nam 1.
Saves: Re — Hyde 2.

Halftime: 8-2, Reservoir


Hammond 18, Oakland Mills 3

Ha (1-3 county, 6-4 overall), OM (0-4, 1-8)

Goals: OM — Browne 1, Smelkinson 1, Mills 1.
Saves: OM — Sellman 13.


Key 16, Chapelgate 4

K (5-6 IAAM C, 5-6 overall), CCA (1-9 IAAM C, 1-10)

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