Raiders win 13th straight SMAC girls lacrosse ti­tle

Raiders beat War­riors, win yet an­other SMAC girls lacrosse cham­pi­onship

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

The num­ber 13 might be bad luck for many, but it’s not un­lucky for the Leonard­town girls lacrosse team, which wrapped up its 13th straight South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence girls lacrosse cham­pi­onship with a 16-4 win over vis­it­ing La Plata on Mon­day.

The SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion cham­pion Raiders (13-2 over­all) snapped an early tie with 11 unan­swered goals and cruised to the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship, the last for out­go­ing head coach Ken McIl­henny, who will step down at the end of the sea­son.

“No, it never gets old, it’s al­ways good,” McIl­henny said af- ter be­ing sur­prised with a farewell ban­ner. “The girls came out on fire and [we made] a few mis­takes early in the game; some turnovers, but oth­er­wise they were click­ing. It’s good to see the girls work hard and it’s fun and it’s been a great ride.”

“It’s just awe­some to keep the streak alive, es­pe­cially with Mac leav­ing,” said Leonard­town ju­nior at­tack Catie Corolla, sho scored a game-high seven goals. “Draw con­trols were big and so was [goalie] Kathryn [McCurdy] mak­ing a bunch of saves in the de­fen­sive end.”

Leonard­town se­nior Han­nah Byrnes added: “It feels good

to bring it back for Mac’s last year. He’s been here for so long and done so much for the team, so it’s good to get this last one for him.”

The SMAC Po­tomac Di­vi­sion cham­pion War­riors (10-3) an­swered an early goal with a free-po­si­tion goal by Mor­gan Leonard at the 1-minute mark, but the Raiders pulled away shortly af­ter.

“No one’s got their head down, we did well and there’s def­i­nitely some things we could have cleaned up or did bet­ter,” La Plata head coach Kel­ley Ni­choll said. “Our shots are usu­ally bet­ter than we showed to­day, we also didn’t win as many ground­balls or pro­tect the ball as well as we could have, so those two things we need to clean up def­i­nitely, but over­all it’s a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence to play a team like that.”

“I thought we played pretty well,” La Plata se­nior Han­nah Lind said. “Ev­ery time we come down here we know it’s go­ing to be great com­pe­ti­tion be­cause they’re a well-known pro­gram. Per­son­ally, I like it a lot be­cause it’s a big in­di­ca­tion of how col­lege ball will go next year, and it’s good for us to work on the things we need to.”

Madi­son McCarthy added three goals for the Raiders and Hay­ley New­ton chipped in with two goals. Grace Leget, Mar­lee Scott, Han­nah Wolfe and Hayes each scored once.

“A lot of the one-on-ones were there be­cause they were cov­er­ing our cut­ters pretty well,” said Corolla, who had six goals in the first half, in­clud­ing four straight in a span of 10 min­utes 2 sec­onds. “I usu­ally try and see what the goalie’s giv­ing me and then give a lit­tle fake.”

Corolla also added four draw con­trols, while Scott won three, as the Raiders won 14 as a team.

“Their girls are fast; they’re com­ing off the line faster than us point­blank,” Lind said. “Some­thing we def­i­nitely need to work on is get­ting the first step in and get­ting to the ball.”

Paige Holle­bon scored twice for the War­riors and Mor­gan Leonard and Court­ney Quade each added one. Lind had a teamhigh two ground­balls.

“They did a great job de­fen­sively,” Ni­choll said. “I know 16 [goals against] doesn’t sound like it, but I’m very proud of how we did and also, the girls played hard to­gether on de­fense. Ev­ery time we come down here we say, ‘This is go­ing to be the best de­fen­sive work­out we ever get’ so learn from it and they did.”

La Plata is the top-seeded team in the Class 2A South Sec­tion II bracket. The War­riors re­ceived a bye in the open­ing round and will play on Fri­day in the sec­tion semi­fi­nals ver­sus the win­ner of Wed­nes­day’s sched­uled 4:30 p.m. sec­tion quar­ter­fi­nal con­test that has fifth-seeded West­lake tak­ing on fourth-seeded Patux­ent.

“[We need to] def­i­nitely clean up our shots and don’t rush our shots,” Ni­choll said. “And we need to work on shoot­ing and hav­ing a heavy de­fense on us be­cause it’s clear we can take a good shot when we don’t have a de­fender on us and also catch­ing and pro­tect­ing [the ball] and get­ting it to the right peo­ple to shoot.”

“I think we need to take care of the ball a lot more and work on our tran­si­tion game,” Lind said, “and our mo­tion of­fense and just get­ting more and higher per­cent­age shots off.”

Leonard­town, which is seeded sec­ond in the 4A East Sec­tion II play­offs, will host Broad­neck of Anne Arun­del County at 5 p.m. Fri­day in a sec­tion semi­fi­nal matchup.

“What we re­ally need to do is not turn the ball over, and that’s what’s been hurt­ing us,” McIl­henny said. “Even though we’ve been win­ning, when we turn the ball over we lose the game. That’s the big­gest ting is to take care of the ball, don’t turn it over, com­mu­ni­cate well on de­fense, take our time on of­fense and make ev­ery pos­ses­sion count.”

“We just need to ex­e­cute the way I know we can do,” Byrnes said. “We need to take care of the ball on of­fense, pass it around, get good de­fen­sive se­quences, win draw con­trols and just play our game.”

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

Leonard­town’s Catie Corolla, right, heads up­field while be­ing de­fended by La Plata’s Han­nah Lind dur­ing the Raiders’ 16-4 SMAC cham­pi­onship win on Mon­day. Corolla scored a game-high seven goals.

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