Slowed by fouls early, Loch Raven spent the first half of Saturday's Class 2A-1A girls lacrosse state semifinal searching for a little flow in its usually wide-open game.
By early in the second half, the Raiders had taken command on the field at Broadneck, scoring five straight goals on their way to a 12-7 win over Queen Anne's.
The Raiders (12-4), who have averaged 16 goals in their seven straight wins, face Winters Mill in the state finals Tuesday or Wednesday at UMBC. Loch Raven will be playing in its second state final in three years and seeking its first championship since 1995.
"We're a very aggressive defensive team, and we were having a little trouble with our fouls," Raiders coach Tracy Mabe said. "We just had to talk at halftime about adjusting our defense a bit. Once we adjusted, we really started to come out and play our game."
With the game tied at 6, Loch Raven took the lead for good when Megan Homa scored off a feed from Michaela Bird 6:30 into the half. That started a string of five straight goals punctuated by Ali Habicht's solo effort, her fourth of the game, that extended the lead to 11-6.
Bird and Meredith Moore each added two goals for Loch Raven, which time and again got bailed out on defense by Stevenson-bound senior goalie Alyssa Russell (13 saves), who stopped several point-blank shots.
"When she makes that big save, it's like, 'All right, we can do this,'" Habicht said. "We have somebody to back us up."
Freshman Mollie Stevens led Queen Anne's (10-7) with four goals.
Queen Anne's 17, Loch Raven 3: A run through the Class 2A-1A playoffs ended for Loch Raven, which scored the game's first goal before surrendering eight straight to powerful Queen Anne's at Broadneck.
The Raiders (8-8), who entered the postseason two games below .500, had reeled off three straight playoff wins, including a 10-6 regional final triumph over defending state champion Pikesville.
But the Lions (18-1) were simply too much, using their superior size and strength to claim their 15th straight win. Senior Cody Figiel led the Eastern Shore team with five goals, while junior Wes Dingman had two goals and an assist for Loch Raven.
Queen Anne's advances to the state finals for the second straight year, where it will face Glenelg either Tuesday or Wednesday at UMBC.
The game started on a promising note for Loch Raven, which took the early lead with Kevin Friant's goal off a feed from Dingman. After that, however, the Raiders went the next 14:47 without a score.
"We played hard the whole game, but a couple mental mistakes let them jump up," Raiders coach John Hanley said.