La Plata girls lax falls to Raiders
Leonardtown rolls to 12th straight SMAC crown
In 2006, the United States lacrosse team saw its 28-year winning streak come to an end following a 15-10 loss to Canada in the world championships.
While the USA’s streak came to an end, the Leonardtown girls lacrosse team would start a streak of its own, and that streak was extended to 12 years on Monday when the Raiders won their 12th straight Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championship with a 22-3 win over visiting La Plata.
“Oh no, it never gets old,” Leonardtown head coach Ken McIlhenny said. “Some day it’s going to go away but no, it’s always good to do well and win it. For coming out Monday after a prom I was happy with how they played. They played well worked hard and stayed focused.”
“Umm, I don’t think it does [ever get old],” said Leonardtown senior attack Lilia Cruz, who had a game-high 11 points on three goals and eight assists. “It’s like a whole new feeling all over again, and it just feels great. I love the legacy that is Leonardtown lacrosse and it’s just a great feeling to keep going forward and keeping it going.”
Senior defender Brenna Duke said: “I think
it’s crazy because it’s one thing to win a couple years in a row but 12 years . ... There’s been so many great players to play here, and we continue to win, so I think it says a lot about our program and our coaches.”
The Raiders (15-0 overall), the SMAC Chesapeake champion, needed just 18 seconds to take the lead on a goal by Karson Harris, who then made it 2-0 just 26 seconds later. Catie Corolla made it 3-0 just 1 minute 2 seconds in and never looked back. Leonardtown won the first seven draws.
Leonardtown led 16-1 at halftime after scoring the final 12 goals of the half.
“Draw controls, groundballs and good possessions,” McIlhenny said of his keys to every game. “I say to them every game if we win all three of them, you’re going to win, if we win two out of three of them, you’re going to win and if you win one of them, you’re not.”
“I think our transition game was good and we showed that we have such great chemistry on the field,” Duke said. “We play so well together as a team, and I think today that really showed.”
Corolla finished with five goals, an assist and eight draw control wins. Harris added four goals and four assists and Grace Leget, Marlee Scott and Josie Brodfuehrer each scored twice. Madison McCarthy, Jennifer Williams, Cassie Kunz and Miranda Gomez each scored one goal and Hannah Wolfe and Emma Davis each chipped in with an assist. Brodfuehrer won three draws and Leget won two.
Leonardtown’s Kate Sites missed the game with a leg injury, but McIlhenny said he expected the sophomore attack back at practice on Tuesday.
“Usually when we play teams and we’re ahead by a lot we start to slack off,” Cruz said, “but I don’t think we did that today. We kept our game up.”
The Warriors (9-4), the SMAC Potomac Division champion, were led by Morgan Leonard, who scored all three of La Plata’s goals on just four shots. Leonard also added two draw control wins and a groundball.
“We knew coming into it they were going to play this way, and their agility and their speed and they’ve just got a whole extra line of players that can come in an give them fresh legs all the time, so they’re definitely an excellent team,” La Plata head coach Kelley Nicholl said. “And they work hard. Every single groundball they go after, every single catch they make and every single draw [control] they’re hustling, and they’re well coached.”
Hannah Lind added an assist and a draw control and Cait Cox also won a draw control.
“They’ve always been a powerhouse,” Lind said of the Raiders. “It’s always a rough game coming into it, but we’re a young team so we’ll learn from it and in coming years try and get up to their level of play.”
La Plata, seeded third in the Class 3A-2A East Region Section II playoffs, will host sixth-seeded Thomas Stone in a sectional quarterfinal contest at 5 p.m. today.
“I told the girls, ‘What would we be doing if we weren’t here? We’d be at practice’ and this to me is a better way to practice,” said Nicholl, who has just two seniors on the team. “This is the best practice anyone can ask for. We were talking about how much they learned and each one of them came away with something we can work on. They took something positive away from this.”
Leonardtown, the top seed in the 4A-3A East Region Section II playoffs, will play Friday against the winner of today’s 5 p.m. section quarterfinal that has fifth-seeded Chopticon at fourth-seeded Broadneck of Anne Arundel County.
“I’m proud of us,” said Harris, a senior midfielder. “We definitely had some tough games this season and I think we come out every year not taking anything for granted and I’m proud we came out and proved we’re still here to stay.”
La Plata’s Hannah Kane, left, and Leonardtown’s Catie Corolla chase after a loose ball during Monday’s SMAC championship game. The Raiders won 22-3.
La Plata’s Morgan Leonard, right, fends off Leonardtown defender Haley O’Reagan in Monday’s SMAC championship game. Leonard scored all three La Plata goals in a 22-3 loss.
La Plata’s Cait Cox, left, and Leonardtown’s Madison McCarthy battle for a loose ball in Monday’s SMAC championship game. The Raiders won 22-3.