QA’s road ends vs. Mav­er­icks

Two-time champs reel off 17 goals in a row in blowout

Record Observer - - Sports - By AY­MAN ALAM aalam@star­dem.com

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.”

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Ay­man_S­tarDem. Email me at aalam@star­dem.com

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