Glenelg High’s girls lacrosse team ended two years of frustration Friday afternoon. The No. 7 Gladiators defeated Century, 9-8, in a Class 2A West Region I semifinal in Howard County.
Isa Torres dominated the draw, winning 14 of 18 for Glenelg (13-2 overall), including the first eight of the game. Lauren LaPointe scored six goals for the Gladiators and assisted on another. Natalie Opatovsky led the way for Century, scoring three goals.
The Howard County champ Gladiators built a 3-goal advantage before keeping Century (10-4) at bay in the closing minutes to advance to the region title game at undefeated and No. 6 Manchester Valley Monday. Manchester Valley (15-0) routed Winters Mill, 19-2, in the other West Region I semifinal Friday.
The previous two postseasons ended abruptly for Glenelg at the hands of Century, including an 8-7 loss in the West Region I finale last year. The Knights went on to win the 2A state championship.
The Gladiators had enough.
“This is a game we’ve been focusing on pretty much the whole year,” Torres said. “It’s the game I’ve personally been wanting to play. I think we pulled through and everyone wanted it. Everyone stepped up to play today.”
The game started off back-and-forth, with the teams trading goals. Jane Brewer scored the opener, pegging the Knights out to an early lead two-and-a-half minutes into the game. Thirty seconds later, Kamryn Henson replied for the Gladiators.
LaPointe found the back of the net with her first goal of the night twenty seconds after Henson’s goal. Ava Hernandez assisted LaPointe.
Opatovsky evened the game for the Knights, assisted by Brewer.
LaPointe, a senior attacker, scored the next two goals to push Glenelg to a 4-2 advantage. Century evened the game up, however, with free-position goals from Delaney Sandbank and Hannah Baglin. The Gladiators built a 3-goal cushion headed into halftime. Henson, Maggie Metz and LaPointe scored.
“That three-goal cushion was so necessary to survive and move on,” Glenelg coach Alex Pagnotta said.
The Gladiators needed those three goals, as Century cut the deficit to one goal twice in the final 25 minutes. The Knights scored the first two goals of the second half. Opatovsky and Harli Hamlett made it a 7-6 game with 12 minutes, 19 seconds to go.
Glenelg restored its three goal lead with just under five minutes to go when Torres and LaPointe scored. Madison Prietz and Opatovsky scored twice for the Knights in two minutes to bring it to a 9-8 game.
“It just showed our fight,” Century coach Becky Groves said. “The girls were never going to give up. That’s just a testament to our program.”
The final 2:28 after the final goal was a mad dash around the field, Glenelg players passing it around, while Century players chased. The Gladiators were able to maintain enough possession to close out a win.
“We really trust each other,” Torres said. “Nobody was going to drop that ball. We all knew what this meant to us.”
The trust that the Gladiators have in each other showed Friday.
“It’s definitely for the team,” LaPointe said. “Every shot, every pass, every assist is for the team. Adding that to our scoreboard, adding that to our energy on the sideline is really what I was looking to do.”
CLASS 2A WEST REGION I SEMIFINAL
GLENELG 9, CENTURY 8
Glenelg 7 2 — 9
Century 4 4 — 8
Goals: Glenelg - Lauren LaPointe 6, Kamryn Henson 2, Maggie Metz; Century - Jane Brewer, Natalie Opatovsky 3, Delaney Sandbank, Hannah Baglin, Harli Hamlett, Madison Prietz.
Assists: Glenelg - Ava Hernandez, Lauren LaPointe, Isa Torres; Century - Jane Brewer, Delaney Sandbank 2.
Saves: Glenelg - Emily Altshuler 6; Century - Becca Mullinix 9.