If a girls lacrosse team dominates the draws, it can usually control the game. Tuesday, that didn’t work against No. 6 Notre Dame Prep.
No. 4 Glenelg won 13 of 19 draws, but the Blazers’ aggressive defense rarely let the Gladiators capitalize. NDP allowed fewer goals than it has all season in an 11-6 victory that avenged last season’s loss to the Gladiators.
The host Blazers (3-2) started the game by winning five of the first six draws. They scored four straight goals in four minutes to take a 4-1 lead on Caitlynn Mossman’s goal less than 10 minutes into the game.
The advantage on draw controls quickly turned as Glenelg’s Jenny Giampalmo started drawing a few balls to herself and directing others to her teammates on the circle.
Last season, NDP’s Jordan Sabourin dominated a lot of teams on the draw, and Tuesday she won the early ones against Glenelg, but Blazers coach Mac Ford said she’s had to adjust her style to new draw-control rules.
“The difference in keeping your stick parallel [above the center line] has not helped us,” he said, “so we need to keep working on that. [Sabourin’s] had to change her style a little bit. Sydney Rosa same thing, so we tried three different girls, but [Glenelg] did an outstanding job. It wasn’t like their girl was getting the draw to herself all the time, but their wings [were winning them]. We’ve got to do a better job on the wings.”
Ford was pleased with the way the Blazers showed they could win the game without winning most of the draws. Last season, they lost only to Glenelg and twice to No. 1 McDonogh, which overwhelmed them on the draw and returns its draw control ace Maddie Jenner.
Even with the big advantage on the draw, the Gladiators, who were playing their first game, couldn’t convert many opportunities. A strong Blazers defense, led by Sarah Cooper, Annika Meyer, Maddie Johnston and Jordan Tilley, forced turnovers in the open field and on Glenelg’s attacking end.
The Gladiators were within 8-5 at halftime after Giampalmo’s goal 14 seconds before the break, but they wouldn’t score again until 8:57 remained in the game. During that stretch, the Blazers ran their lead to 11-5 on Maggie Corbo’s free-position goal with 11:17 to go.
The Blazers were exceptionally efficient on attack, especially early. They scored on all eight shots in the first half and hit 11 of 16 in the game.
After falling to then-No. 10 Roland Park on Saturday, Tuesday’s win was a major rebound for the Blazers, who lost to Glenelg, 9-7, last season. This year, the Blazers have been up and down, squandering an early lead in a season-opening 10-9 loss to No. 2 Glenelg Country before beating two of the top teams in the Washington area, Good Counsel and Bishop Ireton, Va.
“We have some new people on offense,” senior attacker Hannah Mardiney said, “so we’re getting used to everyone. The last couple games, there was a lot of forcing it and just trying to get a quick goal, but this game I thought we did a better job of slowing it down and reacting to their ‘D’ instead of trying to take quick shots.”