Glenelg was driven in proving what kind of team it really was Friday against Mt. Hebron in the 3A/2A section I semifinal. The two-seeded Gladiators were consumed with extra motivation from the way they lost to the Vikings during the regular season.
“You don’t get a chance very often to avenge a game you thought you should have had the first time and so we were definitely looking to come back and take this game,” said Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid after the dominating, 16-4 win. “This has been what we’ve been talking about for most of the season, you know of course we want to get out of our section. It’s always so hard to get out of your section so we have Monday to work on that.”
In the first meeting between the two teams on April 15, the Gladiators got out to an early 5-1 advantage, but was hit with four yellow cards down the stretch and ultimately played a man-down for virtually an entire half. The Vikings came out with the 11-10 victory during that matchup, but Glenelg was determined to invoke a different outcome this time around on their home turf.
“It always feels good to beat one of your rivals,” said Gladiators senior defender Caroline Esmond. “Last year we beat them in playoffs too but it was a much closer game. I think this score just shows what kind of team we are and how hard we worked this past season. I think coming from last game, playing down for I think it was a total of 24 minutes, we didn’t really get to show what we could do as a team and I think we came out today ready to show that.”
Like the first meeting, Glenelg established a large cushion against the three-seeded Vikings, storming out to a 3-0 run and ultimately ending the half with an 8-1 advantage.
“The first time we did too, but we were called for some many fouls we were playing with a man down the whole first half,” Kincaid said. “So we knew if we cleaned up the game and played as little checking as possible and get the draw we knew we’d do well.”
The Gladiators made the most out of their offensive sets and took advantage of their draw control wins throughout the game. Glenelg won 12 balls off the circle, versus eight for Mt. Hebron.
Julia Salandra, Alayna Pagnotta and Anna Callahan gave the Gladiators a 3-0 lead before Jordan Stevens put the Vikings on the board with 10 minutes left in the half. Stevens was moved into the midfield with senior Sorana Larson out due to an illness. Larson has played like a Player of the Year candidate all season and was the catalyst in Mt. Hebron’s win over Glenelg during the regular season matchup, netting the game-winning goal.
“She would’ve done anything to be here,” said Vikings coach Lindsay Menton. “It’s sad for her, but I think the girls really used that to motivate them today and even though we didn’t pull it out in the end I think the energy that they wanted to bring for her was admirable.”
Glenelg countered Stevens’ goal with a 5-0 run to end the half. Callahan capped off the surge, netting a goal with 9.6 seconds to spare before the break, taking advantage of a caused turnover by the defense with 22 seconds on the clock. The Gladiators quickly got it down in transition and put away its fifth-straight goal, helping build on its momentum entering the following 25 minutes.
Mt. Hebron came up with the opening draw of the second half and got two quality shots on the offensive end but could not capitalize. Once Glenelg's defense won back the ball, its attack did a good job of holding it and eating some clock on the offensive end. The Gladiators held possession for nearly seven minutes before the Vikings got the ball back.
“I think it’s hard, because we’re playing a lot of defense and we’re asking a lot of our defense,” Menton said. “As much as we would typically tell our attack to kind of feel the pulse of the defense, it’s hard for them to do that because there is also an urgency to score, so you kind of find yourself in a bit of a predicament when you’re forcing out, trying to pressure the ball, get back on defense but also give them a rest to score quickly. I think the girls did a great job fighting out the entire game despite the deficit.”
Georgia Esmond tacked on another midway through the half, extending the lead to eight. Erin Demek answered for the Vikings, putting away her free position and cutting the score, 9-2 with 15 minutes left in the game. The two teams traded goals once more, as Georgia Esmond put away another score, while Stevens fed Ellie Miller to slice the deficit to seven with 13:20 remaining.
But the Vikings struggled to get the ball on their offensive end, as Glenelg won back possession and ate more time off the clock, while adding three more goals before Laura Benson cut the lead back down to nine with nearly six minutes left.
“I think in the beginning we were coming up with possession which was huge, granted we weren’t able to capitalize on it as much, but then there was definitely a swing where they were coming up with it,” Menton said. “I feel like that is the name of the game these days and that’s what it really boils down to is possession and they were doing a really good job of making sure that each time they got the ball they were taking it down and putting it in the back of the net. I think we were having a little bit more trouble doing that.”
The Gladiators tallied two more insurance goals in the final few minutes, solidifying the 16-4 score and knocking out the Vikings from playoff contention for the second straight season.
“We stayed with the plan,” Kincaid said. “We stayed with the offense we were running, stayed with the type of defense we wanted. All those things were there and think back to that first game, we went out strong and fast and had the game in hand, but when we were playing a man-down the rest of the game we just couldn’t do what we do.”
Georgia Esmond led Glenelg offensively with 5 goals and three assists, while Maddy O’Brien and Julia Salandra followed with two goals and one assist each. Maddie McSally made three saves in net.
Jen Schaaf totaled seven stops for the Vikings, while Stevens led the team with one goal and one assist.
Mt. Hebron ended its season with an 11-5 overall record in Menton’s first year at the helm.
“I think they stepped up great,” Menton said. “We threw things at them kind of last minute with Roo being out – we just found that out last minute, so we played around with different people in different roles at practice and what not, but it would be easy to shy away from that challenge. I know we moved up Kaitlin Rice from J.V and she was out there today and you would never know, so everyone slipped into their role very nicely and again, I just think it came down to possession and what we were doing with that possession. I think that made the difference today.”
Summing up her first season with the Vikings, Menton called the experience ‘phenomenal.’
“The girls worked hard and they play for each other, which is awesome,” she added.
Glenelg moves on to face top-seeded Marriotts Ridge Monday in the section I final. The Mustangs got the best of the Gladiators in their May 3 matchup, winning 9-7.
“A lot of things were against us that first time and the motivation wasn’t quite there the first time that much,” Kincaid said. “The county was already getting out of our reach to begin with, but we have been looking to finish strong in this part here, so I think you will see a different game when we get there. We did start out really slow, but we’ve adjusted what kind of offense we’re going to use against them. We like to do certain things and they are very good at taking that away, so we’re going to come out with something a little different this time. So hopefully we pick up where we left off in that second half.”
Glenelg 16, Mt. Hebron 4 (Friday, May 13) (3A/2A South section I)
Goals: G – G. Esmond 5, O’Brien 2, LeTellier 2, Salandra 2, Pagnotta 2, Scheinberg 1, Stone 1, Callahan 1; MH – Benson 1, Demek 1, Miller 1, Stevens.
Assists: G – G. Esmond 3, Scheinberg 1, O’Brien 1, Callahan 1, Duncan 1, Salandra 1; MH – Stevens 1.
Saves: G – McSally 3; MH – Schaaf 7.
Halftime: 8-1 Glenelg.
Marriotts Ridge 14, Winters Mill 7 (Friday, May 13) (3A/2A South, section I)
The top-seeded Mustangs defeated the fifth-seeded Falcons Friday, to move onto the section I finals against two-seeded Glenelg.
Marriotts Ridge jumped out to a 5-1 halftime lead, but Winters Mill put away six goals in the second half to gain a little ground. It was ultimately all Marriotts Ridge, as the Mustangs pulled away with the seven-point win.
Carly Miller led Marriotts Ridge offensively, tallying four goals and one assist, while Lexi Souder (three goals) and Casey Sullivan (two goals, one assist) followed. Olivia Ranta registered five saves in net.
The Mustangs will host Glenelg Monday at 5 p.m. Marriotts Ridge defeated the Gladiators in its regular season matchup on May 3, 9-7.
Goals: MR – Miller 4, Souder 3, Sullivan 2, Simpson 1, Hensh 1, Kennedy 1; WM – Diffendal 3, Love 2, Pusarwei 1, Rhoads 1.
Assists: MR – Miller 1, C. Blalock 1, Sullivan 1, Hensh 1; WM – Crouse 1, Love 1, Rhoads 1, Collins 1.
Saves: MR – Ranta 5; WM – Bennett 8.
Halftime: 5-1 MR.
Atholton 17, River Hill 12 (Friday, May 13) (3A/2A South, section II)
The top-seeded Raiders knocked off the fifth-seeded Hawks Friday and advanced to the section II final against third-seeded Chesapeake.
Junior attacker Rachel Foster had a monster game for Atholton, netting seven goals and added one assist in the outing. Junior midfielder Kelley Flynn followed with four goals and one assist, while seniors Meaghan Quinn and KK Shepherd each added two goals and one assist, respectively. Freshman Hannah Bizokas recorded six saves, while sophomore Maddy Eaton picked up one stop.
Lexi Thelemann concluded her freshman year campaign with a prolific performance totaling three goals and three assists, while sophomore Gabby Hamburger led River Hill with four goals. Senior Katie Caddigan and junior Devon Filippone each added two goals, while junior Annie Maloney totaled four saves on the night.
River Hill ended the year with an overall 5-11 record.
The Raiders are scheduled to host the Cougars Monday at 5:30 p.m.
Goals: A – Foster 7, Flynn 4, M. Quinn 2, Shepherd 2, Johnson 1, A. Quinn 1; RH – Hamburger 4, Thelemann 3, Caddigan 2, Filippone 2, Caprara 1.
Assists: A – M. Quinn 2, Johnson 1, Shepherd 1, Flynn 1, Martin 1, Foster 1; RH – Thelemann 3, Schwab 1.
Saves: A – Bizokas 6, Eaton 1; RH – Maloney 4.
Halftime: 11-6 Atholton.
Chesapeake 21, Wilde Lake 5 (Friday, May 13) (3A/2A South, section II)