From the time she assumed the starting job last spring, Broadneck senior Natalee Easthom has been regarded among the area’s top lacrosse goalies. She’s stopped 60 percent of shots faced in her final high school season and will continue her career at perennial national power Northwestern next year.
But Easthom’s tenure in net for the Bruins hasn’t always been smooth. Four of the team’s five losses in the past two seasons have come by a single goal. Easthom said it’s the harsh defeats that provide the best fuel to stoke improvement.
“I don’t want to make excuses up or anything,” Easthom said. “I don’t get upset about those type of games, I get angry about them. I need to go out and try harder the next time. I don’t know if the other girls feel the same way or if that’s just a personal thing for me.”
No. 9 Broadneck lost back-to-back games to open the season, including a 10-9 setback against defending Anne Arundel County champ South River, but the team has recovered to reel off seven straight victories. After beating Chesapeake 17-3 on Tuesday night, the Bruins can finally afford to look ahead to Friday’s rivalry game with eighth-ranked Severna Park.
Broadneck Coach Karen Tengwall said her players benefitted from having five days off after they lost to No. 6 Severn, 9-5, on March 23 to fall to 0-2.
After the needed time to make adjustments on the offensive end, the Bruins (7-2, 5-1 Anne Arundel) came back the next week with two convincing nonleague victories against teams that played in the state tournament last year.
They beat reigning Maryland 2A/1A champ Fallston and defending Maryland 4A/3A runner-up Westminster and now have backed up those performances with five straight county victories.
Junior Ellie McNulty leads Broadneck with 32 goals and six assists with seniors Aislinn Propst (Navy) and Kacy Koolage (High Point) not far behind on the scoring list at 33 and 27 points, respectively.
“The coaches had the chance to sit back and re-evaluate things,” Tengwall said. “We had a long talk with the girls, and I think we all re-connected.”
Broadneck currently sits in fourth place in the Anne Arundel County standings behind still-perfect South River, Severna Park and Annapolis, but Tengwall’s squad will have a chance to make a move with its next two games against the Falcons and Panthers (next Tuesday).
Last season, Severna Park beat Broadneck, 8-7, in the regular season, and then the Bruins missed a chance for a playoff rematch when they fell to Leonardtown by the same score in the Maryland 4A/3A East semifinals.
Playing in a region that has been dominated by Severna Park of late, Broadneck has not qualified for the state tournament since winning consecutive titles in 2002 and 2003. With Easthom in goal and a defense paced by seniors Erin Murnane (Elon) and Sara Ruzzi (Columbia), the Bruins should again be able to contend for a region crown, and Easthom said she’s had enough of coming up just short.
“We’re going to have to push ourselves a lot harder,” Easthom said. “It’s not that we haven’t been pushing ourselves. It’s just right now we need to come out and show people that we can do it because I don’t want to be stepped on this year at all.”
The rankings go unchanged this week with the top teams largely holding serve. Top-ranked St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes remains unbeaten after taking its ISL-AA showdown with No. 2 Georgetown Visitation last Wednesday, 14-9, behind five goals from senior Carly Reed. . . . Good Counsel, led by All-Met Caroline Peters, played Georgia power Milton to a 14-14 tie over the weekend. . . . On Friday, Broadneck puts its seven-game winning streak on the line, hosting Severna Park.
1. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (16-0) LW: 1
2. Georgetown Visitation (14-1) LW: 2
3. Good Counsel (10-2-1) LW: 3
4. Mount Hebron (7-1) LW: 4
5. Marriotts Ridge (7-0) LW: 5
6. Severn (8-3-1) LW: 6
7. South River (7-2) LW: 7
8. Severna Park (7-1) LW: 8
9. Broadneck (7-2) LW: 9
10. Westfield (11-1) LW: 10
Records through Tuesday