Warriors too slow getting up to speed
BEL AIR 19, SHERWOOD 5
The Sherwood girls’ lacrosse team began to find its rhythm late in the second half of the Maryland 4A/3A state semifinal against Bel Air. Within a span of three minutes on a cloudy Saturday afternoon in Gaithersburg, the Warriors dominated draws and threw crisp passes that resulted in three unanswered goals.
But Sherwood’s brief rally came with the result nearly in hand. Bel Air stormed to an early lead and used its speed and strength to overwhelm the Warriors, 19-5. With the victory, the Bobcats advanced to play Severna Park, a 15-0 winner over Blair on Friday night, in the state finals at Stevenson University later in the week.
“I think if we could’ve started out with that intensity, the game would’ve been a lot closer,” said Sherwood sophomore attack Katie Cunius, who led the team with two goals. “It was just getting adjusted to the speed. I think we finally got it, but we adjusted way too late.”
Sherwood took its first and only lead less than two minutes into the game when sophomore attack Haley Allen forced a turnover and sprinted across the field for an unassisted goal.
Bel Air (14-4) answered 35 seconds later with an unassisted goal of its own from junior midfielder Lauren Asher and scored 12 consecutive goals before Cunius put one in the net for the Warriors with 1:23 left in the half. That goal came off an assist by sophomore midfielder Abbey Rose. Bel Air juniors Julia Henry, Elizabeth Hillman and Caroline Fallace led all players with three goals apiece.
“They were definitely good on defense. They made us work really hard and move around a lot,” Allen said. “They definitely put us on our toes.”
The Warriors (13-4) had several question marks heading into this season. Sherwood returned only two starters after graduating 12 seniors, and the team was led by a group of talented sophomores who play lacrosse year-round.
Coach Kelly Hughes also scheduled several tough nonleague opponents, and Sherwood opened with three losses. But halfway through the season, the Warriors found their confidence and eventually became the third Sherwood team in six years to reach the state semifinals.
On the game’s final goal, Cunius spun around her defenders and found the back of the net with 2:33 left. Even after the loss, the Sherwood players remained upbeat as they huddled around their coach, who dedicated the season to longtime assistant coach Carl Norwood, who passed away in March.
“I think this is something that, with a bunch of sophomores and juniors, is a big learning experience,” Hughes said. “I think the expectations are higher going forward.”
Glenelg earns state title berth
Defending champion Glenelg is back in the finals after a 24-2 win over Oakdale at Mount Hebron. Anna Callahan and senior Courtney Renehan each scored five goals as the top-ranked Gladiators (19-0) cruised to their 26th consecutive victory.
Glenelg is seeking its fourth girls’ lacrosse state title and will play Tuesday or Wednesday in the championship game at Stevenson.
“Last year we were kind of the underdogs,” Callahan said. “Now people expect a lot out of us, and we kind of have a big target on our backs from last year and from our performance this year. It’s a different kind of pressure, but I believe in my team.”
Sherwood’s Katie Cunius, left, scores the game’s final goal in the Warriors’ semifinal defeat Saturday.