Mt. Hebron senior midfielder Megan Pallozzi talks about the Vikings' 9-7 win over Centennial on Thursday, April 27 at Mt. Hebron High School. (Monica D'Ippolito/BSMG)
Mt. Hebron jumped out to gain a 4-0 cushion over visiting Centennial Thursday. And although the Eagles fought back to tie the game twice down the stretch, the Vikings never relinquished the lead and ultimately held on for a 9-7 win.
"I was definitely proud of the way the girls came out today," Mt. Hebron coach Lindsay Menton said. "We got up four goals quick and that was kind of something we've been working on throughout the season. Not settling on being up by just one or two, but really playing fast is what we talk about, and capitalizing."
The Vikings (3-2 county, 8-4 overall) quickly regrouped from a frustrating 12-11 loss to Arundel on Tuesday and started fast against the rival Eagles (6-3, 7-5).
Mt. Hebron won three of four draw controls to start the game and took advantage with a 4-0 run within the first seven minutes.
After Erin Demek won possession to herself on the circle, Lexi Arens began what turned into a prolific night with the game's opening goal just more than a minute into the game.
Megan Pallozzi won the ensuing draw for the Vikings, which led to Demek assisting Arens shortly after.
"Preparing for this game offensively we definitely thought we could take advantage of taking some of the 1-on-1's," Pallozzi said. "Clearing through and giving some of our strong players opportunities to go to goal, and I think we did execute that."
The Eagles gathered the following possession on the circle and got down to their offensive end for the first time in the game, but could not take advantage.
What ended up as an unfortunate trend throughout the outing, Centennial struggled finishing on free positions. In the first half it put away 2 of 6, while in the second half went 0 for 6 on free position opportunities.
"We would've won," said Eagles coach Bethany Cunha. "So that is a positive moving forward. Our draw controls looked good. Defense looked fabulous, but we just couldn't finish on the offensive end. So that is where we will be focusing our efforts."
Mt. Hebron added its third goal with 19 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the half. Arens again was the catalyst on the play, this time feeding Kaitlin Rice for the score.
After a long offensive possession, Ellie Miller capped off the Vikings' 4-0 run about two minutes later. Cunha immediately called a timeout to regroup her team after the goal.
"I told them they had to decide how they were going to play this game," Cunha said. "They needed to wake up and instead of being spectators they needed to be participants, and they needed to actually take ownership of the game. We were like zombies out there in the first couple minutes, and so that 4-0 cushion in the beginning I think is what allowed them to continue in the game."
The Eagles immediately responded as soon as they stepped back onto the turf. Marissa Lagera won the ensuing draw, which then led to a free position for Madi Griffin. The senior then put away the attempt to get Centennial on the board.
Claudia Pilcher collected the following draw control and again, Centennial earned a free position leading to a Lagera goal, assisted by Julia Grable.
Laurie Bracey got the Eagles within one with 13:49 to play, ripping her shot off-stick side to cut the score, 4-3.
"I think after that first timeout we kind of let them come back in a bit, but they are a great team," Menton said. "We knew they were going to come to play and given that, we definitely hung tough and we were able to come out with the win."
Pallozzi brought down the following draw and Mt. Hebron settled in for a long offensive set. After ticking down more than two minutes off the clock, the Vikings took advantage of a man-up situation with Arens assisting Miller to push the lead back to two.
Centennial and Mt. Hebron traded goals with five minutes left in the half, but Pilcher helped the Eagles cut the deficit back to one at halftime.
Pilcher caused a turnover on the defensive end and ran the ball down field with seconds winding down. After a foul called in transition, Pilcher passed it over to Rasa Welsh, who fed Lagera for the goal with 3.3 seconds remaining before the break.
Centennial tied it up for the first time early in the second half, taking advantage of an unforced turnover by Mt. Hebron on its clear, with Pilcher the beneficiary. But the Vikings didn't panic and with 17:11 remaining, Arens gave them back the lead after finishing on a free position.
"I think we did we did a good job overall," Menton said. "I think it definitely was a game of swings and we talk a lot about how lacrosse is more than the nuts and bolts of throwing and catching, but it is also very much about being mentally tough and being ready for those swings."
Lagera tied the game once more at seven, but Mt. Hebron held on from there and did not allow another goal for 16:57 left.
"We came out fast when we started out four nothing, but they came back after that timeout so we knew we had to push back after halftime and that is what we did," Pallozzi said. "After the frustrating game last game we definitely pulled it together yesterday at practice. We worked a lot on defense about talking on defense. The big thing for us this year is communication on defense and we're really emphasizing that."
The Eagles had chances to take the lead, but could not convert on several free positions down the stretch, with Schaaf coming up with three saves in the final few minutes to keep her team in it.
Erin Demek assisted Lindsey Connell to break the stalemate with 14 minutes remaining, and Ellie Miller scored a short-handed goal eight minutes later to pile on one more to solidify the 9-7 score.
"We killed ourselves on our shots. We've been working on placement all week and it seems that we just got to keep working on it," Cunha said. "We're not seeing the net. We're seeing the goalie and we're getting in our heads about our shots. So we will be doing free positions over and over again until we get them right. But otherwise I thought we put up a good fight, and we hope to see them again in playoffs."
Arens led the Vikings with three goals and two assists, followed by Miller (three goals) and Demek (two assists), while Pallozzi finished with one score. Schaaf was crucial in net and recorded 14 stops on the day.
"With Centennial being a big rival it really means a lot to get a win in this game," Pallozzi said. "It's obviously a big game. It is every year. They always give us a good fight, but we knew we had to come out fast."
Pilcher had a great all-around game for the Eagles, defensively and on the circle, while also adding two goals on the offensive end. Lagera finished with a team-high three goals, while Welsh recorded two assists. Sarah Thorman also had a solid outing in net, finishing with seven saves.
"I think if we had been making our shots it would have been a different game and a different scoreboard," Cunha added. "But they are a great team, they're attack is amazing. They have some shooters out there that are going to make a big statement in college, so good for them and we got work to do and we're going to come out stronger next week."
Both teams are back in action Tuesday, with the Vikings hosting Reservoir and the Eagles visiting Howard.
The Scorpions picked up their first win of the season Thursday, as they went on the road and defeated the Engineers, 15-7.
"We came into the game knowing that our goal was to win and we didn't stop. We were really excited and we were really happy with our play," said Oakland Mills coach Davia Williams. "We continued to compete even when we were up. We continued to stay calm and make good decisions. Even afterwards we were excited, but we weren't shocked. It was, 'we worked hard for this, we deserved it and now let's move on to the next.'"
The Scorpions went into the game determined to play some of their best lacrosse and walk off the field with a victory. They put together a fantastic outing on both ends, giving up a season low seven goals, while also totaling six different goal scorers on the day.
"This season has been challenging in regards to the order of our games. We've played a lot of the middle-tier teams first so when we approached this game we all agreed we are ready to put everything together," Williams said. "This is going to be our opportunity to play as a team and kind of show everything that we've learned so far throughout the season. We wanted to start strong and we did that."
Leah Roberts gave the Scorpions the early 1-0 lead after winning the opening draw. She collected possession off the circle, ran down field and put away her first of a team-high four goals in the game.
Poly kept it close, getting within one several times, but never took the lead at any point.
Oakland Mills held a 9-5 lead at the half and the Engineers scored an early goal at the beginning of the second half to cut the deficit, but the Scorpions defense buckled down, caused several turnovers which, in turn, produced goals on the offensive end.
"Defensively we're used to playing a little reserved and we're used to kind of just dropping into our defense, but we realized if we put pressure on them we can get turnovers," Williams said. "It was really impressive how our team was able to stay composed… being able to stay disciplined and not force it and not have turnovers, which would have allowed them to come back, it was really great."
Kelly Claxton, who Williams called the "calming force on our attack," followed Roberts offensively and scored her first three goals of the season. Kerry Browne also added three goals and an assist, while Hannah Smelkinson finished with three goals as well. Alex Sellman, meanwhile, had a fantastic day in net and recorded seven saves for the Scorpions.
"It was so awesome to watch everybody take part in the win," said Williams. "Even when it was close in the beginning no one gave up."
"We've talked as a team and we knew if we won a game and we played bad it wouldn't of felt as good just because it's a win. So this was all the pieces of the puzzle falling into place."
Oakland Mills ends the season with games against Hammond, Lansdowne, Long Reach and Wilde Lake. And although Williams and her group realize it will be a battle, they are confident they can compete in each contest and possibly add to this year's win total.
"I know all of those teams are really good," she said. "I know they all have some wins under their belts, and I think the one thing [this win] does is that it gives us confidence of playing lacrosse, playing with teams and competing."
OM (0-3 county, 1-7 overall)
Goals: OM — L. Roberts 4, Claxton 3, Browne 3, Smelkinson 3, Compson 1, R. Roberts 1.
Assists: OM — Browne 1, Denne 1, Gomes 1.
Saves: OM — Sellman 7.
Halftime: 9-5, Oakland Mills.
Glenelg 17, River Hill 1
The Gladiators upped their perfect county record to 5-0 after handily defeating the Hawks, 17-1.
Glenelg had eight different goal scorers, with Anna Callahan leading the way with four goals. Lindsay Letellier added a score, while recording a team-high five assists in the win.
Gaby Hamburger put away River Hill's lone goal, while Annie Maloney made 13 saves in net.
Both teams resume play on Tuesday, with the Hawks visiting Marriotts Ridge and the Gladiators also hit the road to face Atholton.
The Mustangs earned their second-straight win Thursday after beating the hosting Lions.
Marriotts Ridge took a hefty 9-2 advantage at the break and limited Howard to just one goal in the following 25 minutes to cement the 10-goal victory.
Eloise Clevenger led the way offensively for the Mustangs, finishing with four goals and two assists, while Caroline Blalock followed with two goals and two assists. Hannah Miller finished with three saves in net.
Kelly Schluederberg, Leah Spalding and Jess Vetter each scored a goal for the Lions, while Jamie Tsao recorded an assist. Sam Sagi registered seven saves.
Marriotts Ridge is back in action Saturday morning to face McDonogh on the road at 9 a.m., while Howard is back home Tuesday to host Centennial at 5:30 p.m.
MR (4-1 county, 9-2 overall), Ho (3-2, 7-4)
Goals: MR — E. Clevenger 4, C. Blalock 2, S. Blalock 1, L. Kennedy 1, Thompson 1, Hensh 1, Simpson 1, Cooke 1, Christianson 1, G. Kennedy 1; Ho — Schluederberg 1, Spalding 1, Vetter 1.
Assists: MR — C. Blalock 2, E. Clevenger 2, L. Kennedy 1, G. Kennedy 1, Sullivan 1, Christianson 1; Ho — Tsao