Marriotts Ridge girls pull away in second half to win 3A-2A title

May 24, 2011|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Zoe Stukenberg and her Marriotts Ridge girls lacrosse teammates like second chances.

Last week, the Mustangs avenged an early season loss to Howard County rival Mount Hebron in the regional championships. In Tuesday night's Class 3A-2A state final, they turned the tables on Century, which had knocked them out in last year's state semifinals.

With steady offense and stifling defense, the No. 5 Mustangs scored the first four goals of the second half en route to an 8-4 victory over No. 8 and defending champion Century at UMBC for their first state title.

"We're better the second time around," Stukenberg said. "We said [about Mount Hebron], they got counties, they got District V and we'll take states and we did."

Coach Natalie Gaieski said the mood surrounding her team was much lighter than last year when they lost to the Knights, 10-6. The Mustangs were nervous then, but not this time.

"There was a different attitude this year," Gaieski said. "They had a game plan and they talked with confidence that they were going to come in and win this game. …You could tell they believed in themselves."

The Knights, who have won five state titles since 2004, pressed the Mustangs (18-1) early, taking a 3-2 lead on back-to-back goals from Jill Remenapp, but mistakes cost the Knights.

They turned the ball over 10 times and the Mustangs held them scoreless for nearly 35 minutes while scoring six straight goals. Tori Thompson and Laura Maskell finished off the first half with goals, and after the break, Nicole Grote, Maskell, Alannna Diffendal and Emily Cooke ran the lead to 8-3 with 59 seconds left.

"If they send a double or pressure one person, we know anyone else can get the ball and can go one-on-one to goal," Maskell said, "and we have a lot of assists on this team — way more than we had last year at this point — so we all know how to work off of each other and score goals."

The Knights (15-3) had not been held below 13 goals this season and they have rarely been held to single digits during their nine-year history.

"Easy goals became turnovers," Remenapp said. "We were either dropping the ball as soon as they put their stick on us or we were dropping passes or we were not placing our shots. I know there were three crucial turnovers and that's when I saw the momentum clearly shift."

The Knights, who won three of the first four second-half draws, had a chance to get a little traction under their offense with five minutes left, but Marriotts Ridge goalie Stephanie Ortell made two terrific saves and the Mustangs were able to run out much of the clock even with Century goalie Allison Remenapp coming out to double-team the ball.

6 Marriotts Ridge 8 Century 4

Goals: MR—N.Grote 3, Maskell 2, Thompson, Diffendal, Cooke; C—Ab.Remenapp, J.Remenapp 3,

Assists: MR—Cooke, N.Grote, Thompson. C—Ab.Remenapp Saves: MR—Ortell 5; C—Al.Remenapp 3.

Half: MR, 4-3.

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