“Mallory and Tess, we need to finish,” Glenelg field hockey coach Nicole Trunzo yelled from the sidelines during Monday’s playoff game against Marriotts Ridge. “Get your feet around and finish.”
Her comments came with about 11 minutes to play in the first half and were directed towards senior forwards Mallory Jubb and Tess Muneses, two major contributors to the team’s usually explosive attack. But up to that point Monday, the Mustangs held the Gladiators’ offense to a single score that came less than two minutes into the postseason clash. They had dominated in terms of time of possession and shots on target yet could not convert around the cage.
Finally, in the closing moments of the opening period, the Gladiators pieced together their second scoring sequence thanks in large part to Jubb and Muneses. Following one of Marriotts Ridge’s best scoring chances all game, Jubb gained possession after the restart and immediately sprinted down the right sideline. She then sent a cross that deflected off a Mustangs player and found the stick of Muneses, stationed near the left post, for the easy finish.
Trunzo has long emphasized capitalizing on scoring opportunities, especially against opponents with the offensive firepower and defensive grit of Marriotts Ridge, and Muneses’ conversion came at the perfect time. It doubled Glenelg’s lead, built its confidence entering intermission and set the tone for an eventual 3-0 triumph in the 2A East, Section I final.
Next up for the Gladiators (11-1-1) is a regional final rematch with River Hill, which handled Oakland Mills on Monday.
“It feels awesome,” junior midfielder Kathryn Hoffman said. “We knew we did a great job against them last time, but we told ourselves not to be cocky, not to think about last game but move forward and think of it as a new game. They’re really tough, so it was awesome to get that win.”
It was less than two weeks ago that Glenelg cruised past Marriotts Ridge, 5-0, to reclaim the county championship in both teams’ league finale on Oct. 17. But as Trunzo stated after that game, the Gladiators could not overlook the Mustangs, who were capable of knocking off the defending 2A state champions. One lopsided result meant little in what has been a competitive rivalry.
That pressure seemed to get to the Gladiators, as Trunzo sensed nervousness from her team throughout Monday’s contest. Her players were “timid” and “really careful” while the Mustangs played with aggressiveness and decisiveness. Their passing was “not as good as it usually is,” Trunzo added.
Nevertheless, the Gladiators immediately went ahead on an exquisite deflection from Jenny Giampalmo. On the game’s first corner, Giampalmo inserted the ball to Hoffman at the top of the circle, and Hoffman immediately sent a laser of a shot towards goal. But before goalkeeper Grace Tolle (eight saves) could attempt to make the stop, Giampalmo got her stick on the ball and flicked it into the back of the cage.
While not as crisp as its regular season meeting, Glenelg frequently pushed forward before intermission and continued to challenge Tolle, who on two occasions kept the deficit at one with quality stops. Marriotts Ridge’s offense had its moments, too, many of which came from junior Emma Gladstein. But not even Gladstein could score past goalkeeper Rachel Barker (five saves) and a defense that secured its fifth consecutive shutout.
Offensively, however, Trunzo said the Gladiators needed to “pick it up” in the second half.
“Spread the field, move the ball and play a little more relaxed, a little more confident and just work together,” Trunzo said. “We played a little bit flat, they weren’t on their angles, so we said just to spread out and work the ball.”
The Gladiators’ third goal, which came about 10 minutes into the final frame, demonstrated exactly what Trunzo had talked about during intermission. Muneses sent the team’s fourth corner of the period to Giampalmo, who drilled a shot into traffic in front of goal. Emma LeTellier corralled the ball near the right post, took one touch and then slid her attempt through the legs of a sliding Tolle for the third and final score. Had her shot missed its mark, Muneses was standing right in front of the open net.
Despite the 3-0 season-ending defeat, Marriotts Ridge coach Stacie Gado said the Mustangs’ put forth a better performance than in their regular season loss to Glenelg. She saw more intensity, urgency and resiliency from her team, which refused to give up when faced with a multi-goal deficit. They ended up earning more corners (12) than Glenelg (nine) in a game that Gado believes just did not go the Mustangs’ way.
“The intensity of our girls today, they really wanted it,” Gado said. “And, of course, a 3-0 game does not show the play on the field. I definitely think the game was evenly matched — we outcornered them — but again, unfortunately, couldn’t get the ball in the cage.”
2A East, Section I final
Glenelg (11-1-1) — 3, Marriotts Ridge (9-7) — 0
Goals: G — Jenny Giampalmo, Emma LeTellier, Tess Muneses.
Assists: G — Giampalmo, Kathryn Hoffman, Mallory Jubb.
Saves: G — Rachel Barker 5; MR — Grace Tolle 8.
Halftime: 2-0, G
Around the county:
2A East, Section II final
River Hill (7-8) — 13, Oakland Mills (3-11) — 0
Goals: RH — Quinn Kindbom 2, Maryum Nassar 2, Emily Masker, Laura Mason, Lindsey Miller, Fiona Neely, Natalie Nichols, Sonia Patel, Sara Sharp, Claire Slade, Lexi Thielemann.
Assists: RH — Thielemann 2, Kindbom.
Saves: RH — Caroline Kral 0; OM — Justin Steele 8.
Halftime: 5-0, RH