Glenelg High girls lacrosse coach Alex Pagnotta spent a good portion of a postgame interview Tuesday evening detailing the mistakes his squad made against Marriotts Ridge. But Pagnotta looked over the scoreboard in the corner of the Gladiators’ main field and shrugged his head.
“We were making some uncharacteristic mistakes, but there were big plays that helped us come away with the win…I’m definitely happy about that,” said Pagnotta. “We got a lot of things to go back to the drawing board and fix.”
No. 7 Glenelg’s 7-5 decision over 13th-ranked Mustangs will not be remembered as one of the program’s finest moments. But the Gladiators made enough plays, especially in the final minutes, to secure their biggest victory in Howard County play so far this season.
Virginia Tech University recruit Isa Torres had 5 goals and an assist for Glenelg (7-2 overall, 3-0 Howard) and Ava Hernandez and Lauren LaPointe each tallied. Sophia Baxter finished with 2 goals for Marriotts Ridge and Sophie Bender finished with a goal and 2 assists.
Hernandez’s fourth quarter goal and Glenelg’s tenacious defensive effort in the final minutes helped repel a Marriotts Ridge second half push, giving the defending Howard County champs their 24th straight victory against league opponents (including playoffs).
Glenelg’s last league loss was against Marriotts Ridge in April 2019. There was no season in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 spring season was limited to a handful of games due to the pandemic.
After a promising first half, the Gladiators’ streak was in jeopardy as Marriotts Ridge scored three unanswered goals, the last from Baxter to bring the visitors to 6-5 with 9:55 remaining in regulation.
Torres won the ensuing draw and found Hernandez, coming around from behind the goal, for the response with 8:49 left to play.
“We needed that,” said Torres.
The Gladiators’ defense, led by senior Catherine Taylor, got a big groundball from sophomore defender Madelyn Renehan with 75 seconds left remaining. Emily Altshuler posted five saves as Glenelg ran out the remaining time after Renehan’s pickup. The Gladiators held Marriotts Ridge scoreless for nearly 20 minutes between first and second halves.
Pagnotta lauded the defensive effort, but couldn’t shake the final 25 minutes of regulation.
“It’s hard not to be disappointed…we made uncharacteristic mistakes, understanding time and situation on the field. That second half was the worst half of lacrosse I’ve seen from one of our teams,” said Pagnotta. “You can’t take nothing away from Marriotts Ridge. They played fantastic.”
Trailing 6-1 early in the second half, Marriotts Ridge (4-4, 2-1 Howard) rallied. Baxter scored unassisted for the Mustangs’ first score since the 18:45 mark in the opening half. Two minutes later, sophomore Esther Yang finished a pass from Bender.
Annika Huelskamp made it 6-4 after a feed from behind the goal from Bender with 14:09 left in regulation. The Gladiators appeared to regain momentum when LaPointe scored with 10:30 left to play, but the goal was disallowed for a dangerous follow through.
It was LaPointe’s second yellow card of the half, ending her evening. Glenelg had three yellow cards in the second half Tuesday.
Marriotts Ridge got to within 6-5 on Baxter’s second tally with less than 10 minutes left before Hernandez’s goal provided some breathing room for Glenelg.
“Glenelg does a really great job defensively,” said Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady. “They switch things up. We knew they were going to come at us with a zone and go back-and-forth between defenses. We had to make those adjustments, which the girls did a really good job recognizing and moving into our sets. We just weren’t catching in the middle, making clean passes. We threw the ball away a lot on our own.”
Glenelg remains undefeated with Mount Hebron (2-0 Howard) atop the Howard County standings. The teams meet in the regular season finale May 3.
Despite an uneven effort Tuesday, Glenelg is once again in a familiar position.
“We’re meeting expectations, but we can go beyond,” said Torres. “Today, things didn’t go how we wanted to go…we will exceed expectations by the end of the season.”
NO. 7 GLENELG 7, NO. 13 MARRIOTTS RIDGE 5
Marriotts Ridge 1 4 - 5
Glenelg 5 2 - 7
Goals: Marriotts Ridge - Baxter 2, Huelskamp, Yang, S. Bender; Glenelg - Torres 5, LaPointe, Hernandez
Assists: Marriotts Ridge - S. Bender 2; Glenelg - Torres, Metz
Saves: Marriotts Ridge - Proper 7; Glenelg - Altshuler 5