Great Mills wins offensive showdown
Hornets beat Spartans, advance in 3A South Region girls lacrosse playoffs
In a contest that was a shootout from start to finish, Great Mills outlasted St. Charles 20-16 on Wednesday to move on to the Class 3A South Region Section II semifinals and a meeting with top-seeded Huntingtown.
The No. 5 seed Hornets avenged a regular season loss to the No. 4 seed Spartans, putting on an offensive show in a game that featured little defense. A combined 18 goals were scored in each half, and the 20 tallies were the most for Great Mills since their very first game of the year against Westlake.
Great Mills (4-9 overall) used a balanced attack to overwhelm the home team’s defense, getting goals from eight different players. Senior captain Caley Neville led the Hornets with five goals, followed closely behind by Kirsten Hamilton and Bryce Harden with four.
Hamilton often ini-
tiated the offense through her face-off work, and scored her first goal by gaining a draw control and sprinting down the field through the St. Charles defense and fir-
ing a shot past goalie Desiree Jones.
The performance earns Great Mills another shot at Huntingtown, scheduled for 6 tonight, which beat them 22-3 on April 6.
“We’ve had a couple rough games this season, some games we should’ve won, some games that just didn’t go our way like
last time we played here,” Hornets head coach Mark McLeod said. “The girls just focused. … They played tough tonight, they just didn’t want it to end. It’s win or go home at this point.”
St. Charles (3-10) knocked off the Hornets 14-11 on April 27, and early on it seemed the game would go the Spartans’ way once again.
The home squad scored five goals in the first eight minutes of the game, peppering Great Mills goalie Brooklyn Kimball with shots and maintaining possession for long stretches.
Taylor Stone got the Spartans going with a goal on their opening play, then added another
shortly after when she scooped up a groundball on the defensive end and weaved through most of the Hornets’ team for another score.
Jordan Moss soon took over as the offensive stalwart, matching Stone’s two goals and scoring one more later in the half. Moss led all players with seven goals, with Stone and Sherrin Smith each finishing with three apiece.
Great Mills evened the score at 5 with 11 minutes elapsed in the first half on a draw control by Hamilton and a nifty assist to Neville. The Hornets went ahead on a Lily Simmerman goal, and the Spartans would knot it one more time but never
regain the lead.
St. Charles scored the opening goal of the second half, but Great Mills fended them off for the rest of the game. The Hornets scored 10 goals in each half, with six different players scoring the last seven goals to close out the Spartans.
“We had six or seven girls in double figures for scoring [for the season],” McLeod said. “It’s usually pretty balanced. We’ve got six strong attack, three strong middies.”
Kimball was making just her second start of the season after spending most of the year on the junior varsity team. The sophomore joined the team due to an injury to Great Mills’ starting goal- ie and lost 20-6 in the final regular season game last Friday against Northern.
Kimball finished with 12 saves Wednesday and stonewalled Moss with less than two minutes left to eliminate any real chance of a comeback. McLeod has had to fill in other holes on the defensive side with reserves due to various injuries, and said he’s looking forward to his team having more time to mesh with each other.
“They’re still a young defense, and they’ve only been together on the field for a practice and a half,” McLeod said. “We get a practice tomorrow and a game on Friday, we’ll see what happens.”