From the moment Glenelg stepped back onto the turf this spring, its goal was to get back to Stevenson University for a chance to claim a second straight 3A/2A state title.
On Tuesday at Mustang Stadium, the relentless hours of practice and work the Gladiators put in culminated in a 12-3 victory over C. Milton Wright, completing the goal they strived for from the start of the season.
“Our coaches have been telling us from the beginning that our goal every year is states or bust and I think that is something we’ve really been working towards,” said Glenelg senior Lindsay LeTellier, who finished with two goals and two assists in the win. “We work so hard in practice. Our coaches push us so hard and it really paid off today.”
The victory not only clinched the Gladiators their fourth state championship, but also completed the first undefeated season in program history.
“This group of kids is just awesome. To go 20-0, it’s wonderful because they work hard all the time,” said Glenelg first-year coach Nicole Trunzo. “They want to go hard. They get along. They get it done and it’s just amazing. They make coaching the best job ever. I love it.”
The Gladiators dominated possession against the Mustangs (10-7), winning all but two draw controls.
After opening up with the game’s first draw, Glenelg settled in offensively and following a two-minute stanza, LeTellier found some space around the crease, sliced her way to the cage and gave her team a 1-0 lead.
“We really just strive to be smart players, selfless players,” LeTellier said. “And so, if the shot is not open, if the pass is not open we want to just possess the ball and do what we can to contribute to our team.”
Jordan Landsman won the ensuing draw for the Mustangs, who put their first shot on Glenelg’s Maddie McSally (five saves) about 10 minutes in, but the sophomore made the stop. The Gladiators then quickly got the ball down field leading to a goal by Callahan to push the cushion to two.
“I was really happy with the way our team moved the ball and my goals came from everyone’s efforts on the team,” said Callahan, who led her team with three goals. “We make space for each other, which is something really important with our team. We try to be the smartest players we can be and the most selfless players, and that is exactly what worked for our team today.”
Taylor Marchetti scored C. Milton Wright’s first goal with 16 minutes, 47 seconds remaining before the break to cut the deficit in half, but Glenelg responded with four straight goals by Courtney Renehan, Maddy O’Brien, Alayna Pagnotta and Callahan to bring the halftime lead to 6-1.
“I think the girls from the first half to the second half just kept fighting,” Mustangs coach Tayler Kuzma said. “They never gave up and that is something that is tough to teach any player, so I am very proud of the team for doing that.”
The Gladiators continued their dominance on the circle in the following 25 minutes, winning all eight draws in the second half, which helped extend their lead to eight before the Mustangs scored again.
“All of our middies are just so intense they want the ball so bad and they usually get it,” LeTellier said.
“They also give it 110 percent [on the circle],” Pagnotta added. “I think all of Courtney’s were one-handed catch bring it down, same with Anna, but that just goes to show how hard we go. How hard they go.”
After Aubrey Hoover put away a free position goal for C. Milton Wright, Renehan came up with one of her athletic one-handed grabs on the circle and about a minute later assisted O’Brien to bring the score to 11-2.
Meghan Murray added one more for the Mustangs with 6:18 remaining, but Callahan answered with her third score of the game.
With about four minutes remaining, Rachel Scheinberg tallied another for the Gladiators on a free position to finalize the 12-3 outcome.
“I have never worked so hard for something in my life and that is what makes it feel even better, because we know how hard we have worked and we just wanted to prove that we belong up top,” Callahan said. “Finishing with a state championship is just the best feeling in the world.”
Glenelg’s motto all season has been, “Level 10,” a mantra assistant coach Alex Pagnotta brought to the team this year. And after every game, the Gladiators talked about bringing that “Level 10,” 110 percent effort to every practice, every game and every possession and with the state championship trophy in hand, they agreed the work they put in was well worth the feeling of claiming another state championship.
“They both feel great. This one feels better,” LeTellier said. “I just feel like personally, our team worked even harder than last year even though last year we didn’t even think it was possible. We just wanted to come back here so much. Every day coach Alex and coach Trunzo, telling us that Level 10, and every day it made us really hungry to come back here and get another one.”
Glenelg 12, C. Milton Wright 3
G (20-0), CMW (10-7)
Goals: G — Callahan 3, O’Brien 2, LeTellier 2, Pagnotta 2, Esmond 1, Renehan 1, Scheinberg 1; CMW — Hoover 1, Marchetti 1, Murray 1.
Assists: G — Renehan 2, LeTellier 2; CMW — Hoover 1.
Saves: G — McSally 5; CMW — Dipeso 6.
Halftime: 6-1, Glenelg.