Centennial senior Laurie Bracey talks about the Eagles' 17-11 win over Reservoir on Wednesday, April 5 at Centennial High School. Bracey led her team with six goals and six draw controls in the victory. (Monica D'Ippolito/BSMG)
Centennial used a large first-half cushion to propel its win against Reservoir Wednesday, as the Eagles held off a late Gators rally to clinch the, 17-11, victory.
"As our coach would say, this is a season of redemption for us and we really wanted to start the game off with a bang," said Eagles senior Laurie Bracey. "We really wanted to let them know that we were here to win so that's just what we came to do."
Bracey gave her team the lead straight off the opening draw, as she gained possession off the circle and raced down to net the game's first goal while only putting a 50 second dent in the game clock.
Bracey started what turned into a Centennial 6-0 run, with the Eagles gaining possession on six consecutive draws and immediately capitalizing on the offensive end. Bracey, Madi Griffin, Rasa Welsh and Claudia Pilcher scored within the first five minutes to give Centennial the lofty cushion.
"If we could re-do the first five minutes of the game it would have been a totally different outcome," said Reservoir assistant coach Erin Geraghty, who stepped into head coaching duties Wednesday. "I definitely feel that the girls got in their heads after the first five minutes and I think Centennial started out fast with [Bracey]. I think it kind of threw our girls off and in the end we just needed to step back collect ourselves and regroup."
Greta Schuster ended the run for the Gators after finishing off an extra pass from Alex Sadzewicz on a free position.
Michelle Armstrong won Reservoir's first draw of the day on the ensuing face off, but both team went scoreless for the following seven minutes.
Katie Pistner ended the drought for the Eagles, putting away an eight-meter with 9:47 left to push the lead back to six.
Armstrong answered about three minutes later to get her team back on the board, but Centennial finished the first half strong, as Marissa Lagera and Bracey netted back-to-back goals in the final two minutes to extend the advantage, 9-2, at the break.
"I thought we played great defense in the first half," said Eagles coach Bethany Cunha. "I thought we moved the ball well. Our transitions looked much better. Our passing around the eight looked better. Our general attack was much more organized that it has been in the past, and our draw control really picked up even in the second half and I thought that looked really good."
The Eagles dominated possession in the first 25 minutes and again controled the opening minutes of the second half with their ability to gain possession off the draw. Griffin picked up consecutive wins on the circle, which resulted in goals by Claudia Pilcher and Bracey within the first two minutes.
Reservoir, however, began its rally with about 22 minutes remaining in regulation with Haley Tiller starting the run.
"We went over the fact that we were beating them selves to be honest," said Geraghty of her team's halftime talk. "They were frantic, so we told them to settle down, pull the ball out and drive to the goal when they felt comfortable. We told them not to force the pass. They all have wheels — to use their wheels down the field to run the ball down and they did, and it made a big difference on how we played in the second half."
Tiller's free position goal was not only critical in the Gators come back, but was also a monumental moment for Tiller, who registered her 100th career goal with the score.
Centennial countered with back-to-back scores, but Reservoir responded with a 4-1 run in the following 10 minutes to cut the deficit to 15-8 with about six minutes left.
The Eagles called a timeout following the goal by Schuster and answered with another draw control by Griffin and goal by Bracey.
"I think it's hard when we get tired and keep ourselves on an even keel," Cunha said. "We start making mistakes when we get tired, so that is definitely game endurance and that is something we're definitely working on. And just maintaining our mental game to make sure we're not taking the bait on making stupid fouls, dropping the ball, bad passes and putting our shots on the net."
Tiller won possession on the ensuing draw, which resulted in an Alex Sadzewicz goal. Then with 4:52 to play, Reservoir took advantage of an empty net following a foul on Eagles goalie Sarah Thorman with Tiller feeding Sadzewicz on the play to cut the lead, 16-10.
With 1:22 remaining Lagera added her fifth score of the game with Sadzewicz responding shortly after with a free position goal shortly after to ultimately solidify the final six-point outcome.
"We regrouped every time we called a timeout or at the half they regrouped a little bit better and then by the second half they realized they could do it and pulled it out," Geraghty said. "I think if we just had a little bit more time of the clock it would have been a different story maybe."
Bracey led the way with six goals, followed by Lagera (5) and Pilcher (3), while Rasa Welsh finished with a goal and an assist. Thorman played well in net for the Eagles, recording seven saves in the win.
"I thought some key things that we did today was a lot of ball movement, great defense led by our seniors Ryleigh Ahearn and Gabby Fairley and I thought we worked really well as a team together," Bracey said. "We just came together and decided we wanted to finish the game strong. We weren't going to let a team that we thought we were better than come back and try to make it a close game, so we finished it out as best as we could."
Sadzewicz and Armstrong each finished with three goals and an assist, while Tiller topped off her day with two scores and two assists. Elizabeth Hyde recorded five saves in net for the Gators.
"We definitely have stuff to build on and we know what to work on," added Geraghty. "We're going to come out even stronger."
Assists: C — Welsh 1; Re — Tiller 2, Sadzewicz 1, Armstrong 1, Schuster 1.
Saves: C —Thorman 7; Re — Hyde 5.
Halftime: 9-2, Centennial.
Around the league:
Glenelg 13, Severna Park 6
The Gladiators stayed perfect on the year after defeating the visiting Falcons Wednesday.
Severna Park kept it close in the first half, as Glenelg took a slight two-goal advantage at the break. However, the Gladiators upped its play on the defensive end in the following 25 minutes and limited the Falcons to just two scores, which allowed them to pull away with the comfortable seven-point win.
Courtney Renehan paced Glenelg offensively with three goals, while Rachel Scheinberg, Maddy O'Brien, Jenny Giampalmo and Georgia Esmond followed with two goals apiece. Alayana Pagnotta added two assists, while Anna Callahan recorded one goal and one assist in the win.
The Gladiators will have 10 days to prepare for their next matchups, which is against IAAM A Conference's Notre Dame Prep and defending 4A/3A state champion Dulaney on April 15 at Western Regional Park.
G (3-0 county, 5-0 overall)
Goals: G —Renehan 3, Scheinberg 2, O'Brien 2, Giampalmo 2, Esmond 2, Callahan 1, L. Letellier 1.
Assists: G — Pagnotta 2, Callahan 1, L. Letellier 1.
Halftime: 6-4, Glenelg.
Marriotts Ridge 18, Broadneck 11
The Mustangs picked up their fourth-straight victory to stay undefeated on the year.
Marriotts Ridge had a productive day on the offensive end, scoring 11 first half goals to get out in front by six, which propelled the eventual seven-goal win. The Mustangs also had seven different goal scorers in the game, while totaling eight assists on the day.
Katie Thompson, Eloise Clevenger, Caroline Blalock and Sarah Blalock each registered three goals apiece, while Sarah Blalock and Clevenger also added two assists.
Olivia Ranta had as solid day in net for Marriotts Ridge, totaling eight saves in the win.
The Mustangs are back in action Friday, as they travel to Carroll County to take on Liberty for a 5:15 p.m. game.
MR (2-0 county, 4-0 overall)
Goals: MR — Thompson 3, Clevenger 3, C. Blalock 3, S. Blalock 3, L. Kennedy 2, Hensh 2, Simpson 1; B — McNulty 3, Dupack 2, Puglisa 2, Thorton 2, McCule 1, Peil 1.
Assists: MR — S. Blalock 2, E. Clevenger 2, C. Blalock 1, Simpson 1, Thompson 1, Kennedy 1; B — McCule 3, Dupack 1, Peli 1, Puglisa 1.
Saves: MR — Ranta 8; B — Heverly 10
Halftime: 11-5, Marriotts Ridge.
North County 16, Long Reach 9
LR (0-1 county, 1-2 overall)
Goals: LR — Haney 3, Smith 2, Casserly 2, O'Reilly 1, Adigwe 1.
Saves: LR — McClelland 15.
Halftime: 11-6, North County.
River Hill 9, Wilde Lake 3
The Hawks bounded back from back-to-back losses with a win against the visiting Wildecats on Wednesday.
River Hill held the slight one-goal advantage put held Wilde Lake scoreless in the following 25 minutes to pull away with the win.
The score could have been much more lopsided if not of the play of Wilde Lake's Jenna Oler in net, as the senior recorded 18 saves on 27 shots against.
Gaby Hamburger paced the Hawks with four goals and an assist, while Devon Filippone and Julia Smith followed with two goals apiece. Fillippone and Shelby Brunett also added three assists each in the win.
Julia Bohe and Tori Tobias led the Wildecats with a goal and an assist apiece. Katie Aubin scored the other Wilde Lake goal, while Tess Kostelec picked up an assist in the game.
River Hill has two weeks off before its next matchup on April 19 against Atholton, while Wilde Lake heads home Friday to take on Centennial.
RH (3-2 county, 4-2 overall), WL (1-1 county, 2-3 overall)