Ascione scores seven goals, Folker adds five as Lions improve to 7-4 heading to stretch run
Queen Anne’s 20 — Easton 7
EASTON — Four losses in 18 days, each carrying a certain degree of sting.
But the one that hurt the most, that perhaps gnaws at Queen Anne’s County High’s girls’ lacrosse team more than any other, was a 9-8, mid-April setback to Severn, then ranked 10th by The (Baltimore) Sun.
“We were winning I think by five goals against Severn, who is a topranked team,” Lions head coach Penelope Santos Bates said. “And we played scared. We played with the lead trying not to lose, instead of now, we’re playing to win.”
Paced by Madison Ascione’s seven goals and one assist, Queen Anne’s lassoed its fifth win in six games Friday night at Warrior Stadium with a convincing 20-7 victory over Easton.
“We’re starting to come together as a team really well,” said Ascione, who saw a wealth of talent graduate from a team that last year won a seventh straight Class 2A-1A East Region title and reached the state championship. “At first we were all figuring out our positions since a lot of seniors left. But now everybody’s filling in positions that we lost, and really meshing well.”
The bigger challenge for what is possibly the youngest team Santos Bates has ever fielded at Queen Anne’s, was figuring out how to overcome narrow losses, which included an 8-6 loss to Delaware power Cape Henlopen, and a 7-6 setback against perennial Bayside Conference heavyweight Stephen Decatur.
“We lost a couple of games by one and it was devastating to them,” Santos Bates said. “At the beginning of the year we were playing not to lose. (Against Severn) we were up by five, and we would run a stall, and we were playing to lose. Now, they are going to the cage, they’re playing to win, and every kid is filling a role, which is great.”
That was apparent against the Warriors (5-5 overall, 0-3 North Bayside), who held an early 2-1 lead on an Emma Skoglund goal, then forged a 3-3 tie on Skoglund’s second score 11 minutes into the first half.
A little over a minute later, McKenna Blick netted the first of her four goals to spark a 6-1 run that gave Queen Anne’s (7-4, 3-0) a 9-4 halftime lead.
“Each girl is finding their role,” Santos Bates said. “And we’re giving them jobs as a team to perform on the field. Have this many assists. Have this many goals. Do this on the draw control. Run these plays, this is for you. And they’re filling these roles and it’s all just coming together.”
The Lions continued putting it together in the second half.
After trading goals in the first seven minutes — Taylor Sheppard scoring for Queen Anne’s, Lexie McDaniel for Easton — the Lions went on a 5-0 run over a 7-minute stretch with goals from Abby Folker (five goals), Sheppard, Blick, Ascione and Mallory Pletzer (two goals) for a 15-5 cushion.
“I think that they were just able to get a lot of cutters,” Easton head coach Allie Gamble said of Queen Anne’s. “We teach our girls to stay obviously in front of your cutters. But they were able to get their sticks free, and be able to get that pass right on top of the crease inside the eight. Draw and dumps.
“In the first half in was back and forth,” Gamble added. “But I think here in the draw and transition, Queen Anne’s was able to just kind of take over there in the second half. Queen Anne’s was able to get their sticks free and that was the main thing.”
With a 10-goal bulge and a running clock, Santos Bates replaced starting goalie Emily Karbaum (six saves) with Grace Steffens (one save) with 10:35 remaining.
Ellie Roser (three goals) and McDaniel scored 30 seconds apart, drawing Easton within 15-7. But Queen Anne’s punctuated its third straight win with another 5-0 burst, Ascione reeling off three straight scores between goals from Folker and Blick.
“They have this drive and will to win,” Santos Bates said. “It’s really fun this year to coach. Not that it hasn’t (been) every other year. It’s a different team and they want to learn and they want to succeed. And they’re getting better each day. We haven’t peaked yet, and it’s amazing and fun to watch.”
Notes: Queen Anne’s is scheduled to host Kent Island (10-1, 3-0) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in a game to determine the North Bayside champion, the winner playing Stephen Decatur for the Bayside title . ... Queen Anne’s outshot Easton 30-21. ... Warrior goalie Toni Palmer made nine saves . ... Blick and Kailey Boomer had an assist each for the Lions . ... Stephanie Miller had an assist for Easton. Kent Island 22, Cambridge-SD 3 STEVENSVILLE — Payton Beach had five goals, and A.J. Wilder (three assists) and Ally Heath added four apiece as the Buccaneers won their eighth straight.
Nina Cifolilli recorded a hat trick and one assist for Kent Island (10-1, 3-0), and Kelly Shields set up seven goals and scored twice. Maddie Gonzalez had two goals and two assists, and Cassidy Creighton (assist) and Natalie Schilling each scored once. Follow me on Twitter @Bill_Haufe. Email me at email@example.com
Queen Anne’s County’s Abby Folker, left, and Easton’s Emma Skoglund keep their eyes on the ball during a draw control last Friday.