La Plata girls lax falls to Raiders

Leonard­town rolls to 12th straight SMAC crown

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

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.”

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

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.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY MICHAEL REID

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.

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