A 12-4 victory over Centennial is an impressive feat, but the way Marriotts Ridge did it sent a message that it can beat you in a variety of ways.
Mustangs’ star senior midfielder Lewy Anania managed just two goals matching up against one of the league’s top defenders in Eagles senior Mason Smith, and in year’s past that would likely mean trouble for Marriotts Ridge. Not in the season opener on March 21, however, thanks to eight points from junior midfielder Luke Ingersoll and four goals from senior attackman Jake Polinsky.
“Luke Ingersoll is a really good player. He and Lewy compliment each other very well,” said Mustangs coach Tony Incontrera. “Luke is great at dodging in space and drawing somebody and Lewy is great at filling those gaps and letting it go. Overall I was really pleased with our midfield play and Jake took his opportunities.”
Centennial scored two of the first three goals of the game on tallies from Thomas Thurmond on feeds from Jeremy Wilson on the extra-man offense. The scored was tied at 3 after the first quarter, but Marriotts Ridge scored three unanswered goals in the second and three more unanswered in the third to take a 9-3 lead and pull away.
“We stopped taking so many penalties and in the second, third and fourth quarters we really did a good job on ground balls and our defense clamped down,” said Incontrera, who added that getting nine assists on 12 goals, including helpers on the last seven, was key.
Ingersoll (two goals, six assists) scored or assisted on all but one of the scores in the 6-0 run and Polinsky scored three of the first four goals in the rally. Ingersoll said he sensed he was going to need to step with the attention Lewy gets and that he felt good about his matchup coming into the contest.
“Coming in I felt good. First game of the season there were some nerves to start with,” he said. “... Obviously Lewy is the top midfielder in the county, so he always gets the long pole and I get the short pole. That gives me an opportunity to dodge. It gives me a chance to be the background and facilitate stuff.”
Centennial coach Nick Kellinger agreed that losing the ground ball battle snowballed into the Mustangs’ run. He also noted that his team could’ve capitalized more on the number of Marriotts Ridge penalties but his team wasn’t patient enough.
“They won a bunch of ground balls, a bunch of faceoffs, and there were some big momentum-shifting plays. They’re goalie made a bunch of saves and before we knew it we could sort of feel the game slipping away and we could never sort of stem the tide and get ourselves back into it,” he said. “We needed to answer and we weren’t able to. To get shutout in the second and third quarter against a team that is that good, you can’t come back from that.”
Adding to the victory for the Mustangs is that they had lost their previous two season openers. With expectations high entering the season, Incontrera hopes the momentum follows into Friday night’s matchup with defending MIAA B Conference champions John Carroll.
“It’s huge. Last year we didn’t start 1-0 and we didn’t outscore anybody by eight goals,” he said. “Centennial is really good, really young and they’re only going to get better. I assume we will see them again in May.”
Marriotts Ridge (1-0 county, 1-0 overall) – 12, Centennial (0-1, 0-1) – 4
Goals: MR — Jake Polinsky 4, Lewy Anania 2, James Slack 2, Luke Ingersoll 2, Peter Geier, Brett Gladstone; C — Thomas Thurmond 3, Ty Sams
Assists: MR — Ingersoll 6, Andrew Geiger, Polinsky, Geier; C — Jeremy Wilson 2
Saves: MR — Colin Kelley 10; C — Jack Schlossberg 11
Halftime: 6-3, Marriotts Ridge