Southern-AA coach Linda Kilpatrick's scouting report on No. 12 Hereford indicated that the Bulls prefer to work out of their settled offense.
Early in yesterday's state Class 2A-1A girls lacrosse championship at Catonsville High, the Bulls (16-2) did exactly the opposite.
In less than five minutes early in the first half, the Bulls rolled up six goals, mostly on transition, and that burst carried them to a 12-3 victory and their first state title.
Chrissy Rude, Lauren Carls and Jessica Allen, who combined for 10 of the Bulls goals, scored two each in a 6-1 run that ended with 15:15 left in the first half. That pushed the lead to 6-2.
"They surprised us in that one little spurt where they pushed the ball right to the goal and we were playing on our heels," Kilpatrick said of her Anne Arundel County team. "I thought that was the big difference right there."
The Bulls scored every time they won the draw and netted their first three goals within 58 seconds. Southern's Kristy Manas interrupted the run with a nice low shot off a crease roll, but the Bulls needed just 1:08 to score their next three.
"We were just seeing what kind of holes we had," said Rude, who finished with four goals. "We found out early the best place to shoot was high side. We were just smart about it and kept on going there."
The Bulls had to play a slower game to beat then-No. 12 Glenelg, 6-5, in Friday's semifinal, but Hereford coach Anne Ensor told her team to go directly to goal until the Bulldogs made adjustments.
"They played a man-to-man defense and we thought we were going to be a little bit faster," said Ensor, "so we told the kids, right off the bat, to go to goal. [The Bulldogs] adjusted well to that. Once they did, we had to go back to a passing game."
Even with the adjustment, the Bulldogs (10-7) never got closer than within 6-3. The Bulldogs held off the Bulls for almost 12 minutes of the second half, but Rude finally broke through for an 8-3 lead with 13:05 to go.
The Bulls also got a terrific performance in the goal from Kitt Turnbaugh, who completed her first season at Hereford after transferring from North Carroll.
Turnbaugh, who finished with 10 saves, kept the Bulls in the lead with seven first-half stops, including five in the final 12 minutes. She and her defensive teammates shut out the Bulldogs in the second half.
"Kitt's been the big difference in our team," said Bulls senior Gina Allen, who played a terrific defensive game. "Having a goalie that's experienced only makes a good team better."
Goals: H-Rude 4, Carls 4, J. Allen 2, Reese 2; S-Zang, K.Manas, Talbott. Assists: H-Bateman; S-Ahlstrom. Saves: H-Turnbaugh 10; S-Dixon 6. Half: H, 7-3.