Marriotts Ridge's Maggie Brooks hugs goalie Stephanie… (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene…)
The Marriotts Ridge girls lacrosse team lost just one game this season and had plenty of motivation for revenge in Wednesday's Class 3A-2A South regional championship game.
The No. 5 Mustangs used lessons learned in the first meeting with Howard County rival Mount Hebron to avenge that loss with an 8-3 victory at Cedar Lane Park for their second straight regional title. The Mustangs will go after their first state crown, while the No. 13 Vikings will have to wait to improve on their record 15 state titles.
"Obviously, Mount Hebron is our rival," Mustangs midfielder Zoe Stukenberg said. "Almost the entire lacrosse team would have gone there [had Marriotts Ridge not opened], so it makes it a little extra intense. And then, they beat us, they won the county championship and they won the District V and that kind of left a real bitter taste in our mouths."
Marriotts Ridge (16-1) advances to play No. 9 Fallston, a 10-8 winner over North Harford in Wednesday's North regional final, at the state semifinals Friday at 6 p.m. at Annapolis High School.
Wednesday, the Mustangs took the lead for good midway through the first half when they answered Jenna Boarman's opening goal with consecutive scores by Laura Maskell, Stukenberg and Nicole Grote for a 3-1 edge.
Samantha Brookhart cut the lead to 3-2 for the Vikings with 1:147 left in the half, but the Mustangs allowed only five more shots.
Defenders Anne Zabel, Alex McKay, Alexis Zadjura and Molly Fleming, along with midfielders Stukenberg, Maskell and Taylor Hensh gave the Vikings few openings to goal and held them to just 11 shots in the game. Goalie Stephanie Ortell made seven saves.
In the first meeting, a 10-9 loss in April, the Mustangs' defense double-teamed, Zabel said, but the Vikings (15-2) were able to exploit that strategy and score the most goals the Mustangs have allowed all season. This time, the Vikings defenders stayed home.
"Last time, we would send doubles and then our second slide wouldn't get to them. They would dish it off to that next girl and that's how they scored their goals. This time, we'd set up around the eight [meter arc] and we'd stop them there," Zabel said.
To open the second half, Emily Cooke fed Hensh and Grote for a 5-2 lead. Kara O'Rourke pulled the Vikings within two, but the Mustangs, who won six of seven second-half draws, took control for good as Maskell, Cooke and Hensh made it 8-3 with 11:27 to go.
The Vikings, who had won 15 straight games since falling to No. 4 Westminster, had too many unforced errors among their 12 turnovers and couldn't seem to settle their offense in the second half.
"We weren't valuing our possessions," Vikings coach Trish Sullivan said, " and that's certainly what took the momentum away from us. Marriotts Ridge
did a great job handling the ball. They were very patient, they were very poised out there and, I think, second half you saw our composure kind of slip away."
Goals: MR--Maskell 2, Hensh 2, N.Grote 2, Stukenberg, Cooke; MH--Boarman, Brookhart, O'Rourke.
Assists: MR--Cooke 2; MH--Schwartz. Saves: MR--Ortell 7; MH--Fisher 7. Half: MR, 3-2.