Over the past few seasons, the Garrison Forest field hockey team has had fits trying to slow down high-powered Archbishop Spalding.

As the top-ranked Grizzlies showed on Wednesday, however, this is a new year — and they are most definitely a different team.

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Living up to their ranking of No. 25 in the nation, host Garrison Forest got a goal and an assist from senior Ryleigh McComas, jumping to a three-goal lead on its way to a 4-1 win over No. 4 Spalding in a game shortened by lightning.

Facing a team they had lost to five of the past six meetings dating to 2015, the Grizzlies came out firing, keeping possession for most of the first half and taking seven of the first nine shots.

“We played hard from the start, and that’s what we’ve been talking about all season,” first-year coach Malcolm Belin said. “Coming out in the first five minutes and really putting on a show, and imposing our will on people. I thought we did a much better job of that today.”

“We kept up the intensity a lot from when we first stepped out on the field,” midfielder Macy Miller said. “We were able to block up on their free hits and our press was pretty strong. We were just communicating a lot, and it felt like we were working way more as a team than in past games.”

Still, the numbers paint a picture of utter dominance so far this season, with the Grizzlies (3-0, 1-0 Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference) outscoring opponents, 13-1.

And even after allowing their first goal, when the Cavaliers’ Keeley McNemar tipped in a shot from teammate Shelby Bumgarner to cut the lead to 3-1 11:19 into the second half, they immediately answered, scoring 43 seconds later when junior Annie Fenwick finished a fast break with a shot that ricocheted off a defender’s stick.

The sequence was a bitter pill for Spalding (2-1, 0-1), which had been playing significantly better after halftime.

“We had a lot more opportunities. Unfortunately, as soon as we scored that first goal we let them get a fast break,” Spalding coach Leslee Brady said. “It’s a learning experience for us. It’s very early in the season. We have to regroup because we have [No. 5] Arundel Saturday, {No. 6] McDonogh Monday and [No. 2] NDP on Wednesday. So nothing gets easier.”

Garrison Forest controlled this one from the outset, taking its first lead when Riley Patro received McComas’ penalty corner at the top of the arc, then wound up and fired a hard shot into the back of the cage 8:09 into the game.

“We’ve honestly been slow to start off our games this season, so we’ve been pumping up a lot before the games to get everyone excited,” McComas said. 'It was definitely a priority for us."

The Grizzlies then extended their lead on Miller’s goal off a restart 48 second into the second half, and made it 3-0 less than three minutes later when McComas scored following a scrum in front of the cage.

Though the game was stopped because of lightning with 7:01 to play, the outcome was clear.

“I think this team is just focused,” Belin said. “This was the first big, big game in their minds. We have goals, and we’re going to hit them.”

St. Mary’s 2, Severn 1: Regan O’Toole made 13 saves and the visiting Saints (3-0, 1-0 IAAM B Conference) beat the Admirals (2-1, 0-1). Gracie Driggs and Kaitlyn Panebianco scored for St. Mary’s.

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Annapolis Area Christian 4, Catholic 0: The Eagles (2-1, 1-0 IAAM C Conference) beat the visiting Cubs (0-2, 0-1). AACS goal scorers were: Livy Lenhart, Laine Rogers, Grace Raspa and Lexi Steele.

Boys soccer

No. 3 McDonogh 4, Gilman 1: The host Eagles (3-2, 2-1 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference Red Division) scored three goals in the first half and cruised past the Greyhounds (2-1-1, 1-1). Wyatt Thompson had a goal and an assist and Connor Smith made three saves for McDonogh, which shook off back-to-back losses to Archbishop Spalding on Sept. 6 and Cardinal Gibbons (North Carolina) on Sept. 7.

No. 7 Mount Saint Joseph 4, Catonsville 0: Catonsville resident Dmitri Jordan and Tyquan Stroud, Torren Aikens and Jeremy Abrams all scored in the second half to lead Mount St. Joseph (1-1) to a 4-0 victory over host Catonsville (1-2) in boys soccer action on Wednesday night.

Shan Chung, Charles Dipino and Brett Callahan had assists for the Gaels.

— Craig Clary, Baltimore Sun Media Group

Girls soccer

No. 2 Archbishop Spalding 6, Roland Park 0: Sophie Thibeault scored twice xxx to lead the host Cavaliers (3-0, 1-0 Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference) over the Reds (2-2, 0-1). Spalding outshot Roland Park, 18-1, and had 11 shots on goal to the Reds’ one.

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