QA’s road ends vs. Mavericks
Two-time champs reel off 17 goals in a row in blowout
Manchester Valley 18 Queen Anne’s 2
PASADENA — The Mavericks appeared every bit like a team steamrolling toward histor y.
Queen Anne’s County High’s girls’ lacrosse team was the latest obstacle for Manchester Valley during Friday evening’s Class 2A/1A state semifinals at NortheastAnne Arundel High, and much like 17 of its previous 18 opponents, the Lions offered little resistance against the two-time defending champions.
The Mavericks scored 17 unanswered goals after Madison Ascione pushed the Lions ahead with 21 minutes, 7 seconds left in the first half, and Manchester Valley headed to the state final with a 18-2 victory.
Queen Anne’s, which reached the state tournament for the eighth consecutive season, finished the campaign with a 12-8 mark. Ascione scored both goals for the Lions on cuts to the teeth of Manchester Valley’s defense, first on an assist from Payton Batchelder, and 23 seconds later off a McKenna Blick dish.
The Lions never scored again and were held without a shot on goal in the second
half until the 9-minute mark. The Mavericks have eliminated Queen Anne’s the last three go-arounds: 9-8 in the semifinals in 2014, 16-5 in the championship game in 2015 before the latest matchup.
“(Two) years ago, they were very young and last year they obviously gave us a run for our money,” Lions head coach Penelope Santos Bates said. “We had a lot of seniors who were excellent and graduated, and we were young this year. It’s like, we take two steps forward and then we take a step back.”
Added Ascione: “They’re just amazing. We’ve been preparing for this all season, and we were just glad we were able to hang in there when we had possession. Next year, since we’re losing only a couple of seniors, we’re going to be ready to go to states again.”
Senior midfielder Lizzie Colson, off to University of Maryland this fall, scored five goals for the Mavericks (181), running her total to 99 on the season. Rayna Deltuva, a junior middie who was verbally committed to Towson University, added four goals and four assists, while sophomore attacker Lauren Cremen also found the net four times.
Manchester Valley will face Fallston in the title tilt, Tuesday or Wednesday at Stevenson University, and will do so averaging over 17 goals per game in the postseason.
Its only loss this year arrived in the Fight For Five final in late March to Mt. Hebron, owners of 15 state championships since 1992, and always a tough draw for any opposition.
“Queen Anne’s is a talented team, they work extremely hard, and for us it’s about being better every single day when we step on the field,” Mavericks head coach Shelly Brezicki said. “The kids have really bought into that mentality, and it’s been that way from the beginning when we started this program.
“I thought tonight was the first time all season that every girl on my team played better than they played the game before,” Brezicki added. “I think we really have the momentum and I hope it carries them.”
Down 2-1, Manchester Valley mounted an assault that lasted until the final buzzer, finishing with astonishing advantages on shots (28-6), ground balls (20-7) and draw controls (18-3), the holy trinity of girls’ lacrosse domination.
Brezicki said her team was “feeling out” the Lions in the opening minutes, looking for holes in the defense, looking for the right moment to turn it on.
“These girls have played together for a while, there’s a lot of talent on this team,” Brezicki said of her squad, which features 15 upperclassmen. “One of the things that really worked for us tonight was being patient. We started the game being patient and we ended the game being patient, and patience does pay off.
“I thought my girls did a really nice job not giving up and fighting for every ball,” Brezicki added. “One of the things we knew about Queen Anne’s coming in, is that that’s their style, they fight for every ball. So, we knew we had to be that one step better and that one step faster.”
The goals arrived in every way possible for the Mavericks: swift cuts to the heart of the defense, one-on-one encounters against Queen Anne’s defenders, one-on-one finishes on Lions goalkeepers Emily Karbaum (four saves) and Grace Steffens (five saves), fast breaks, set plays, and on and on.
“The first two goals, we possessed the ball,” Santos Bates said. “When we possessed the ball, we had shots on goal, but they possessed the ball about 90 percent of the game, and that right there, that was the game: draw controls and possession.
“They moved the ball very quickly,” Santos Bates added. “It wasn’t just set plays, they knew where their players were going to be and it was just one after another. Eventually, one of their players would be open, and they were able to find the open player.”
The running clock started with 2:15 left in the first half when Beanie Colson scored from Deltuva to to make it 12-2, Mavericks. The game wrapped up in only 75 minutes from the opening draw control at 8 p.m.
Rumors were floating around the complex that Manchester Valley would merge with North Carroll High in 2017 and move up a classification to 3A/2A, a tidbit Brezicki was unable to substantiate.
Santos Bates, for one, should be glad that their greatest hurdle in the past three seasons could be cleared should the Lions make a ninth straight trip to the state tournament.
“This year, we’ve gotten so much better in just two-andhalf months, to be able to get to regionals and beat regionals is a huge step,” Santos Bates said. “These kids, the juniors, the sophomore, and we have seven freshmen on varsity, they’re experiencing this, so they can carry on the tradition.
“This team this year, it’s the most team-oriented group I’ve ever had,” Santos Bates added. “Everyone works very well together and they all got better together and they all learn each other’s skills and weaknesses, and they just gel, and we’re going to have it next year, too, which is great.”
As far as Manchester Valley stepping up to 3A/2A?
“I’m not going to hold my breath,” Santos Bates said. “I’m going to probably jump up and down. But, they’re graduating a lot of people, and we’re not. So it could be a good matchup next year. If they go up, that’s a bonus.”
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