FI­NAL

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Twit­ter: @SOMDhab­s­fan

Calvert and Hunt­ing­town, so it’s nice to come out on top at the end of the sea­son, but ob­vi­ously our eyes are look­ing for­ward to re­gions, so right now we’re just fo­cused on that.”

Leonard­town, which had 12 play­ers reach the score­sheet, was led by Kate Sites, who poured in four goals and an as­sist. Kar­son Har­ris had three goals and an as­sist, Kate Cor­rolla added a hat trick and Lilia Cruz added two goals and three as­sists.

“It was a re­ally good chal­lenge go­ing into play­offs and it’s great to win our 11th straight,” said se­nior cap­tain Macken­zie Pur­cell, a de­fender. “They were re­ally good com­pe­ti­tion and com­ing out of the reg­u­lar sea­son we knew this was go­ing to be our next step. As a team this is prob­a­bly the best we’ve played. We played very strong-of­fen­sive wise and de­fen­sive-wise.”

Leonard­town head coach Ken McIl­henny said he was pleased with what he saw against La Plata.

“We played well,” he said. “We set some goals at the be­gin­ning of the game for the starters; less than six turnovers, try and win draw con­trols, run­ning through the ground­balls and tak­ing good shots. And we did a good job on our draw con­trols. Ground­balls, I think we can do a lit­tle bit bet­ter. We weren’t run­ning to them like we should have and gone to open space and our shoot­ing was great to­day. We were shoot­ing for the pipes which is where we want to shoot and there was some good hus­tle out there. It was good.”

Cruz open the scor­ing 12 se­conds in and, 60 se­conds later, Cor­rolla made it 2-0.

“Gen­er­ally speak­ing, we al­ways want to get out ahead and stay that way,” McIl­henny said. “[We want to] take ad­van­tage of the fast breaks and pop them in quick and then re­lax a lit­tle bit.”

La Plata (9-4), which won the Po­tomac Divi­sion, re­ceived two goals from Rylee Ot­ten and one apiece from Mor­gan Leonard, Hope Sine and Han­nah Lind. The War­riors re­ceived the third seed in Sec­tion I of the Class 3A-2A East Re­gion play­offs and are sched­uled to host sixth-seeded Thomas Stone at 5 p.m. to­day.

“The game is men­tal, it’s all men­tal and we came in know­ing Leonard­town was an awe­some team, but I think [my play­ers] let that get to them too much,” La Plata head coach Wendy Wal­ston said. “This wasn’t the La Plata team that I’m used to see­ing play. Leonard­town has awe­some skill, but I think our skill level has de­vel­oped a whole lot over the last cou­ple of years, but I didn’t see the level of skill I’m used to see­ing from us. It’s kind of tough com­ing into a game like this [against a pow­er­house like Leonard­town], but I just asked them to play and give 100 per­cent and play as a team and I didn’t see that to­day.”

McIl­henny said set­ting goals is the key to keep­ing his team grounded.

“They work hard in prac­tice and all the girls are club play­ers so they play all year long, but some­times they don’t play as well as I’d like them to play, so it’s try­ing to set goals for them each game to try and stay fo­cused and at­tain those goals,” said McIl­henny, whose team scrim­maged Holton-Arms of Mont­gomery County in prepa­ra­tion for its 4A East Re­gion play­off run. The Raiders re­ceived a bye in the Sec­tion II quar­ter­fi­nals as the sec­tion’s top seed and will host Fri­day against the win­ner of to­day’s sec­tional quar­ter­fi­nal that has fifth-seeded Great Mills at fourth-seeded North Point. “And if we can do that, we give them a day off or some­thing like that. And if we have to, make the goals harder and harder.”

“I think it’s re­ally just be­ing fam­ily,” Par­cell said of the team’s long-term suc­cess. “All of us have known each other since we were lit­tle and have played with each other since we were lit­tle. Be­ing re­ally strong with each other and hav­ing a lit­tle clique has re­ally helped a lot; just be­ing there for each other on and off the field has helped us on the field.”

And then there’s the fact that no one wants to be on the team that snaps the streak.

“It def­i­nitely is [a lot of pres­sure],” Ki­bler said. “In the Hunt­ing­town game [an over­time win] it popped in our head that, ‘Wow this could be our 11th SMAC cham­pi­onship [team] and we don’t want to be the team that loses that.’”

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

Leonard­town’s Kar­son Har­ris pre­pares to pass un­der pres­sure from La Plata de­fender Rylee Ot­ten in Mon­day’s SMAC cham­pi­onship game. Har­ris net­ted a hat trick as the Raiders won the ti­tle 22-5.

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