Garrison Forest girls lacrosse has come close to pulling a few upsets this spring, but the Grizzlies haven’t played the consistent game they need to finish one off. Thursday at Bryn Mawr, they played well throughout, earning a 14-7 victory and a spark of confidence that could lead to bigger things.

“This is a huge win,” senior defender Grace Barta said. “This is hopefully a turning point … We’ve had a lot of close games and a lot of good starts to games, but sometimes the second half hasn’t always been our game, so just making sure in the second half we are keeping the energy we had in the first half, going for every ground ball 110 percent and just keep pushing it.”

The Grizzlies (4-6) scored the first five goals of the game, but also scored the first four of the second half, thwarting every Mawrtians’ comeback attempt. They won 13 of 22 draws and forced many of Bryn Mawr’s 18 turnovers.

Gabby Laverghetta led the Grizzlies with five goals and three assists. The junior attacker assisted Alex Gottleb and Allison Fling on the first two goals of the game. Late in the first half, she scored three straight times, assisted Fling again and scored the first goal of the second half for a 10-3 lead.

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Emersen Thompson, Annie Marshall and Gottlieb then scored consecutive goals to finish off an 8-1 run and give Garrison Forest a 13-3 lead with 7 minutes, 50 seconds left in the game.

“We just put in some new plays and I think they’re definitely working,” Laverghetta said. “I give credit to the all the cutters, because they did a really hard job getting open and they made my job look easy.”

Grizzlies coach Liza Blue said she also hopes the win will help the Grizzlies move up in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.

Garrison Forest, Bryn Mawr, No. 6 Notre Dame Prep, St. Mary’s, Roland Park and John Carroll are in the middle tier of the conference, trading wins with each other but unable to beat any of the top five teams, No. 1 McDonogh, No. 2 St. Paul’s School for Girls, No. 3 Maryvale Prep, No. 4 Glenelg Country and No. 5 Archbishop Spalding.

Garrison Forest lacrosse coach Liza Blue (left) talks to her team during halftime of Thursday's 14-7 win at Bryn Mawr while assistant coach and athletic director Jessy Morgan and defender Grace Barta listen. Blue, a former Grizzlies standout, returned to her alma mater three years ago to take over a program won just one game in 2019. (Katherine Dunn)

The Grizzlies aren’t that far away. They lost three one-goal games, including one to undefeated Glenelg Country. They lost only once, to McDonogh, by more than four goals.

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“We feel we have a really complete team,” Blue said. “We have the same lineup as last year actually, so we really didn’t graduate much. We feel organized in that sense, but the winning culture of our program is still where we’re trying to prove that. We haven’t had an upset yet. We were really close to Glenelg (Country), so that’s where we’re pushing these girls to start believing a little bit more in themselves.”

The Mawrtians (3-6 overall, 3-5 conference) had won three straight games, including 14-9 over St. Mary’s. They beat three ranked public school teams in scrimmages and had a one-goal loss to Georgetown Visitation, which also beat McDonogh by a goal.

But like the Grizzlies, they need to play more consistently. They scored four goals in the final 4:24, much too late to catch up.

“We have pieces of really good stuff going on,” Bryn Mawr coach Molly Wolf said.”We just came out not 100 percent and Garrison’s a really strong side. You can’t give them an inch or they’ll take it away from you and that’s what we did today.”

Kaitlyn Sevier, led Bryn Mawr with three goals, one in the final rally. She, Reese Woodworth and Cam Kauffman, cut the lead to 13-6 before Alex Jordan got one back for the Grizzlies. After a Garrison shot off the pipe, Woodworth fed Violet Brookes in transition with one second left.

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It doesn’t get easier for either team as Bryn Mawr hosts Spalding Saturday and Garrison Forest hosts St. Paul’s, the defending conference champion Tuesday.

“That’s the beauty of our conference,” Wolf said. “There’s a lot of parity in a lot of different schools which is awesome. It’s a battle every day. You can’t come out not ready or thinking the other team’s not going to show up, because everyone’s going to show up. Today, we just didn’t do that and then Garrison just played an awesome game.”

GARRISON FOREST 14, BRYN MAWR 7

Garrison Forest 9 5 — 14

Bryn Mawr 3 4 — 7

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GOALS: GF—Gabby Laverghetta 5, Allison Fling 3, Alex Gottlieb 2, Alex Jordan, Gracie Kothari, Annie Marshall, Emersen Thompson; BM—Kaitlyn Sevier 3, Cam Kauffman 2, Reese Woodworth, Violet Brookes.

ASSISTS: GF—Gabby Laverghetta 3, Livy Laverghetta 2, Camryn Myers ; BM—Reese Woodworth 2, Piper Higgins, Gracyn Lambert.

SAVES: GF—Emine Luznar 4, Laila McDonough 1; BM—JJ Suriano 10.

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