Glenelg, for a second straight game, avenged a regular season loss Monday, knocking out county champion and top-seed Marriotts Ridge in the 3A/2A South section I final.
"I'm really, really proud of them," said Gladiators coach Ginger Kincaid after the 11-7 win. "They did what we were working on and didn't lose their heads. They knew they were the underdogs and they knew what they wanted and they stuck to the game plan, which is nice. I think we were confident from the fast start that we had. We were confident all the way through. I think that's the biggest thing, is that they stayed confident, patient and stuck to the game plan."
In the first meeting between the two county foes, Glenelg came out flat and needed a strong second half to get within striking distance of the talented Mustangs, who had not conceded a loss from a county opponent all season long and defeated the Gladiators, 9-7 on May 3.
"We came in really confident and I think that's what helped us to keep our composure and just have a good time," said Glenelg midfielder Courtney Renehan. "I think that's what got us on point today. We came out really strong. Second half was a little iffy, but we knew we could do it and we stayed strong."
It was a different game Monday, as the second-seeded Gladiators came out hot and started the game on a 4-1 run and ended the half touting an 8-3 advantage.
"The crazy thing is that when we played them the first time, they played our defense and we just couldn't seem to crack it," Kincaid said. "We knew we wanted to stay in a wide formation and we were going to be very patient and move the ball. They stuck to the game plan and found the openings with those first five goals and that was just being patient, staying alive and just move the ball."
Renehan started the surge, netting the opening goal just two minutes in. She assisted on the following score one minute later, feeding Georgia Esmond inside the eight-meter to go up, 2-0.
Caroline Blalock ended the run and got the Mustangs on the board with about 20 minutes left in the half. But Glenelg controlled the draw circle in the first half, collecting eight of 11 draws within the first 25 minutes, which helped control the tempo of the game. The Gladiators won the following two off the circle and capitalized with back-to-back goals from Esmond and Lindsay LeTellier. Annalise Lower tallied the second Marriotts Ridge goal midway through the half, putting away a pass from Lexi Souder to cut the score, 4-2, but Glenelg rattled off two more before Lily Kennedy tacked on another for the Mustangs with 40 seconds left before the break. Glenelg took advantage of the seconds remaining, as Alayna Pagnotta added one more with 1.2 ticks to spare.
"We knew exactly what they were coming in with – their diamond offense," said Mustangs coach Amanda Brady. "Those first three goals we sort of had to make some adjustments just to make sure we didn't have open cutters, but you know, Glenelg played great. They were able to handle the pressure offensively and take care of it. We couldn't put the ball in the back of the net, so that obviously doesn't help us out."
Marriotts Ridge did not allow the large deficit to discourage a comeback, as it rattled off two consecutive goals to start the second half, getting within three with over 22 minutes to play. Souder capitalized off a Mustangs draw-control win and netted her first goal of the afternoon at the 22:28 mark. Straight off the ensuing draw, Marriotts Ridge quickly got it down to Carly Miller who added their second-straight, taking just a few seconds off the clock.
The Gladiators' Maddy O'Brien answered shortly after, finishing off a pass from Pagnotta, but one minute later Kennedy countered for the Mustangs, burying her free position with 19 minutes left in the half and cutting the score, 9-6.
"At halftime we knew it was still a game and we came out and put up a big fight," Brady said. "Unfortunately, we were already in a hole and that's tough to dig yourself out of sometimes."
The Mustangs had a few chances to cut the lead down the stretch, but the Gladiators played stout defensively and were backed by a great outing between the pipes by sophomore goalie Maddie McSally (five saves).
Marriotts Ridge totaled five shots on net in the last 18 minutes and received two free positions, but could not capitalize. On both attempts, Glenelg did an excellent job collapsing in from the eight and deflecting the shot, which McSally then scooped up with ease.
"Defensively, we tweaked it a little bit," Kincaid said. "We didn't quite extend ourselves quite as much and we were very patient on defense too. We had a game plan on both ends and the kids executed perfectly."
Glenelg milked the clock for at least 10 minutes, put away two more insurance goals and clinched a spot in the region finals.
Esmond (two goals), Renehan (two goals, three assists) and Pagnotta (two goals, one assist) led the Gladiators offensively, while Kennedy (two goals) and Souder (one goal, one assist) were the catalysts for the Mustangs.
"It's unfortunate that it's the playoffs and obviously the winner goes on and the loser goes home, but it's not to take away that this is a phenomenal, great team and even better group of girls," Brady said. "We're just sad for them. Glenelg just really came out and stuck it to us the first 10 minutes, which had us playing catch-up."
Marriotts Ridge ended a fantastic season with a 14-2 overall record. The Mustangs graduate some top players that will all play lacrosse at the next level in Annalise Lower (William and Mary), Carly Miller (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Kelly Colegrove (Robert Morris), Leah Zadjura (Elon) and Souder (John Hopkins).
"My seniors are amazing," Brady added. "Coach Katie (Lettinga) and I are so – any year, you're sad when you lose, but losing these five seniors is tough."
Glenelg will face off against section II champion Atholton Wednesday, with the winner cementing a spot in the state semifinal, which will be held either Friday or Saturday at Annapolis High School.
"Anything can happen once you get to the next level," Kincaid added. "We've been keeping an eye on the other sides and if it holds true and C.M Wright wins their section, we'll see them in the semis and we only beat them by one, so nothing's easy. We have to get through Wednesday still too and just because you win the first time doesn't mean you get them the second time, because that's what happened these last two games."
Glenelg 11, Marriotts Ridge 7 (Monday, May 16) (3A/2A South section I)
Goals: G – G. Esmond 2, Renehan 2, Pagnotta 2, Scheinberg 1, Giampalmo 1, O'Brien 1, LeTellier 1, Salandra 1; MR – Kennedy 2, Lower 1, Miller 1, C. Blalock 1, S. Blalock 1, Souder 1.
Assists: G – Renehan 3, LeTellier 1, Pagnotta: MR – Souder 1, Ohmnacht 1.
Saves: G – McSally 5; MR – Ranta 3.
Halftime: 8-3 Glenelg.
Howard 12, Westminster 10 (Monday, May 16) (4A/3A North, section I)
The Lions held off an Owls second-half come back Monday, and clinched a spot in the 4A/3A North region final after the two-point victory.
Second-seeded Howard stormed out to a 7-3 halftime advantage against four-seeded Westminster. The Owls made it close, netting seven second-half goals, but the Lions defense held its cushion and pulled out the win.
Sam Sagi finished with nine saves for Howard, while Kendall Wells and Ella Orzechowski led the Lions offensively, finishing with three goals apiece. Maddie Savje registered two goals and two assists, while Katie Martin added one goal and two assists with Katie Schluederberg leading the team with four assists on the day.
Howard will take on section II champion Magruder on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The winner cements a spot in the state semifinal at Gaithersburg High School either Friday or Saturday.
Goals: Ho – Wells 3, Orzechowski 3, Regal 2, Savje 2, Martin 1, Kinsey 1.
Assists: Ho – Schluederberg 4, Martin 2, Savje 2.
Saves: Ho – Sagi 9.
Halftime: 7-3 Howard.
Atholton 12, Chesapeake-AA (Monday, May 16) (3A/2A South, section II)
The Raiders clinched a 3A/2A South section II championship Monday, defeating the third-seeded Cougars.
It was an interesting game, which resulted in four yellow cards given and two red cards for each team. Atholton and Chesapeake were playing 10-v-10 with six minutes left in regulation.
With the strict officiating it forced the Raiders to step up defensively and they showed up full force, backed by a stellar performance from freshman goalie Hannah Bizokas who finished the outing with 13 saves.
Atholton got out to an early 7-2 advantage and despite playing with a man-down for most of the second half, kept composure and finished out the game strong.
Meaghan Quinn was the catalyst offensively, as the senior midfielder put away five goals. Kelley Flynn followed with two goals and one assist, while Emma Johnson added two goals, with Ashley Martin finishing with one goal and one assist on the day.
"We really came together as a team and found a way to get the job done," said Raiders coach Kelly McGrath. "We made mistakes and got into foul trouble early in the game, but we adjusted the way we played in the second half and never gave up. We controlled the draws and the momentum during the second half and displayed an all around team effort win tonight. Our goalie, Hannah, had multiple significant saves to keep us ahead and Meaghan Quinn showed excellent composure on our attacking end."
Atholton will face Glenelg in the region championship Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Goals: A – M. Quinn 5, Johnson 2, Flynn 2, Dabney 1, Martin 1, Foster 1; C – Harrell 2, Harrell 1, Williams 1, Blanchard 1.
Assists: A – Flynn 1, Martin 1; C – Kipke 1.
Saves: A – Bizokas 13; Beal 12.