Fast starts set the tone on the way to convincing victories for both Marriotts Ridge and Glenelg in each team’s season opener on Friday night.
The Mustangs defeated visiting Howard, 19-10, while the Gladiators went on the road to beat Mt. Hebron, 13-2. Both victorious squads raced out of the gates with five unanswered goals in the opening 10 minutes.
Marriotts Ridge (1-0, 1-0) 19, Howard (0-1, 0-1) 10
A hail storm that rolled through just as the game got underway didn’t seem to bother the Mustangs much. Eloise Clevenger scored three of her game-high seven goals in the opening six minutes, including kicking off the day with an unassisted tally just one minute in.
Howard (0-1, 0-1) put together a nice response after falling behind by five goals, getting back to within three, 7-4, with 11:04 left in the first half, but never fully recovered from the initial surge by Marriotts Ridge (1-0, 1-0).
While it was far from a perfect first outing, Mustangs’ coach Amanda Brady said afterward she was happy to see her team in a real game setting.
“The thing that I think we like most is that we can go into practice knowing exactly what we need to work on and how it translates into a game,” Brady said. “We now have a place to start and begin making adjustments ahead of coming out again next Tuesday.”
Behind Clevenger, Victoria Hensh (5 goals, 1 assist), Erin Cooke (3 goals, 4 assists) and Gracie Kennedy (3 goals, 2 assists) each had big games offensively as well.
Just as important to the team’s success was the work of Emma Miller on the draw. The Mustangs won 23 of 29 on the evening, including 10 of 11 after halftime.
“She was great and helped us get all the draws except one in the second half, which is obviously huge in terms of possession and getting more time on offense,” Brady said. “I wish it would have resulted in a few more goals, but Emma certainly did her job.”
Howard hung tough behind strong efforts from Jenna Peed (4 goals) and Kelly Schluederberg (2 goals, 2 assists). Lions’ coach Katelyn Joyce said she was pleased with her team’s response after falling behind.
“The first few minutes were definitely rough, but I think once we started communicating on defense and started looking for the smaller things on the field, that definitely helped us get back in it,” Joyce said. “We also won a few more draws toward the end of the first half and that certainly helped as well.”
The Lions also got some strong play from goalie Rachel Murphy in the second half. She came in after mission to make seven saves and hold Marriotts Ridge to just six second-half goals after scoring 13 before halftime.
The Gladiators got five goals from five different players in the opening 10 minutes and that proved to be more than enough for a Glenelg (1-0, 1-0) defense that dominated for much of the evening.
Glenelg built a 6-0 lead by halftime and was ahead by seven when Mt. Hebron finally got on the scoreboard with 22:56 remaining in regulation.
“Obviously we always want to get better, but our defense is exactly where we want it right now being the first game. The way we were moving, communicating … I was very impressed,” Glenelg coach Nikki Trunzo. “Ashley O’Byrne, in particular, was awesome. But everyone did great.”
Emily Nalls (4 goals), Sarah Cipolla (2 goals, 2 assists), Emma Kennedy (2 goals) and Maura Murphy (2 goals) led the Gladiators’ offense.