Great Mills wins of­fen­sive show­down

Hor­nets beat Spar­tans, ad­vance in 3A South Re­gion girls lacrosse play­offs

The Enterprise - - Sports - By CHAR­LIE WRIGHT cwright@somd­news.com

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.”

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