As the eighth-seed in the Class 4A girls lacrosse state tournament, Dulaney traveled to play Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round and then hit the road Saturday to Bel Air High School for a semifinal game against Walter Johnson.
The Lions logged over 120 miles on the bus this week, but that didn’t bother them.
They beat top-seeded Sherwood, 13-9, and then rolled past fourth-seeded Walter Johnson, 17-6, to advance to next week’s state championship game.
“The on-the-road thing, I kind of like it,” Lions junior Anna Jones said, “because our bus rides, I feel like, are a key part of our team. They get us all connected and get our energy up, so I kind of like traveling around. I’m not happy they put us at the eighth seed, but we beat the No. 1, we made it this far and it proves to people that we’re good.”
The Lions (11-6) wasted no time proving that to the Bethesda-based Wildcats (12-3).
Natalie Crowley scored a free-position goal 58 seconds into the game and the Lions led 5-0 in a little over nine minutes.
After Olivia McCloskey got one back for the Wildcats, the Lions reeled off four more goals to run the lead to 9-1. Natalie Crowley, Mia Connor and Heidi Schmidt scored before Jones raced to the cage off a Walter Johnson turnover with 1:03 left in the half.
“They’re very fast, physical. They move the ball really, really well,” Wildcats coach Tina Fitzpatrick said. “It’s hard to play a team where everyone is just very talented and we made a lot of mistakes and they were able to capitalize on them.”
The Wildcats, in their first appearance in the state semifinals since 2009, turned the ball over 14 times and the Lions converted eight, including three in the 9-1 start.
In the final 50 seconds of the half, however, the Wildcats rallied with three goals, two from Natalya Krouse and a free-position goal from McCloskey with 7.9 seconds left. Ellie Hilton’s free-position goal about three and a half minutes into the second half completed a five-goal run and brought the Wildcats within 10-5.
The Lions quickly snatched the momentum back with four straight goals as Jones made a nice cut and finished a pass from Elena Emde before Schmidt scored three times. Her last goal, on a terrific pass inside from Jones, boosted the lead to 13-5 with 12:47 left. The Wildcats never got closer than within seven.
Emde helped the Lions dominate the draw early. The junior midfielder won six, including four of the first six.
Lions coach Kristi Korrow was impressed with how composed her team remained throughout the game.
“We’re young, so we’re not as seasoned as some teams I’ve had in the past,” said Korrow, in her 18th season as Lions coach. “They were a little nervous in the quarterfinal, so today we talked about just settling in and playing our game and just blocking out any distractions and I think they were able to do that. They were really focused on taking advantage of mistakes. We talked a lot about that.”
Schmidt, a sophomore attacker, led the way with six goals as seven Lions scored. Jones added three goals, while Natalie Crowley, Sarah Crowley and Connor had two each. Seven goals were assisted including two each by Emde and Caitlyn Keppeler.
“Our plays worked really well,” Schmidt said. “We had great timing on our cuts and overall, we all just worked together really well.”
Defensively, goalie Audrey Simoes had seven saves as she and defenders Brooke Ellis, London McFarlane, Max Yeakel and Maya Tarantino held the Wildcats to their lowest offensive output of the season.
The Lions, who have been to the state tournament 21 times since it began in 1990, will go after their fourth state championship and their first since 2016 when they meet Broadneck next Wednesday, 6:00 p.m., at Stevenson University.
The Bruins, a 17-4 winner over North County in the other semifinal, have knocked Dulaney out of the past two state tournaments — in the quarterfinals last year and in the semifinals the year before.
“I am so excited,” said senior midfielder Natalie Crowley, who played on those two teams. “The culture we have built this year has prepared us 100 percent to face them next week.”
CLASS 4A STATE SEMIFINAL
(At Bel Air High School)
DULANEY 17, WALTER JOHNSON 6
DULANEY 9 8 — 17
W. JOHNSON 4 2 — 6
GOALS: D—Heidi Schmidt 6, Anna Jones 3, Natalie Crowley 2, Mia Connor 2, Sarah Crowley 2, Emma Center-Wilhelm, Eve Fowler; WJ—Olivia McCloskey 2, Natalya Krouse 2, Ellie Hilton, Charlotte Delong.
ASSISTS: D—Elena Emde 2, Natalie Crowley, Caitlyn Keppeler 2, Anna Jones, Rachel Bowers; WJ—Olivia McCloskey.
SAVES: D—Audrey Simoes 7; WJ—Brett Wall 5.