Winters Mill this season won its first Carroll County crown, its first Class 3A-2A West regional title and now will try to complete the storybook year by winning a state championship after last night's 11-10 victory over Centennial in Annapolis.
The No. 13 Falcons appeared to break open a close game with five unanswered goals in the opening nine minutes of the second half, but they had to hold off a late rally by Centennial. Winters Mill, which began varsity girls lacrosse in 2004, will play the winner of Towson and Annapolis in the state final.
"We're starting a tradition," Winters Mill coach Courtney Vaughn said. "Our job was to build the program. We are right where we want to be."
Katie Leech led Winters Mill with four goals and Jen Peters added three.
Erin McMunn scored two consecutive goals to open the second half and Peters, who will attend Saint Joseph's in the fall, added one to give the Falcons (16-2) a 7-4 lead with 22 minutes left. Leech and Amalie Trentzsch scored goals 46 seconds apart to increase the lead to 9-4.
Centennial ended its scoring drought on a goal by Chloe Heckman with 15:52 left. Leech's third goal appeared to put the game out of reach.
However, consecutive goals by Leanne Catalano, Jenny Michael, Sarah Parks and Kelsey Norris cut the margin to one with 4:25 left. The teams then traded goals.
It was an anticlimactic end to the season for the Eagles (14-4) after their historic win Wednesday over Mount Hebron that ended the Vikings' 11-year reign as state champs.
Catonsville 11, Wootton 6 --The Comets seem to like this underdog role. After upsetting No. 12 Dulaney in the regional final, the Comets defeated previously unbeaten Wootton in a state Class 4A-3A semifinal to earn their third trip to the state final.
Catonsville, which won its only state crown in 1996, will meet the winner of today's other semifinal, between No. 2 and defending champion Severna Park and Westminster, for the title Wednesday night at UMBC.
At times this season, the Comets (12-6) have squandered big leads, but last night, they scored the first three goals, ran up an 8-2 lead, and held on.
"Our season was a little bit rough," Catonsville midfielder Melissa Garrett said. "We lost to some teams that we definitely shouldn't have lost to, but I think we just took a look at that and we're trying to get it right when it matters."
The Comets outshot the Patriots 19-10 in the first half and got a strong effort from a defensive unit anchored by Garrett, Shelby Polk, Lindsay Netzer and Danielle Barcak. Patriots goalie Amelia Titus kept the game from getting out of hand early in the second half with six of her 15 saves in the first 12 minutes. The Patriots (15-1) could not take advantage, managing just one goal during that stretch, which brought them to within 10-4.
Loch Raven 12, Southern-AA 5 -- The Raiders scored five goals in the first five minutes and cruised past the Bulldogs in a Class 2A-1A semifinal. Gabi Miller (five goals) and Emma Davis (three goals) each scored twice in the opening flurry. Loch Raven (12-3) will face the winner of today's matchup between Glenelg and Rising Sun in the final.
Sun reporters contributed to this article.