Girls’ lacrosse: Whitman takes step forward with Bitonti sisters serving as coaches

Last year, the Whitman girls’ lacrosse team compiled its first winning season since 2005. This year, the Vikings have leaped from emerging contender into full-blown Montgomery County power. Whitman is 8-2 with two games remaining on the regular season schedule in what already is the program’s best year in more than a decade.

Whitman’s only losses have come to No. 3 Good Counsel and 2013 state finalist Sherwood (9-0). The Vikings already had wins against Blair and Wootton , teams they usually struggle against. Then on Monday night they earned a 15-11 victory over rival Churchill, a team constantly near the top of the Montgomery County standings, and a team Whitman hadn’t beaten since April 17, 2007.

“I think Churchill, for everyone that was the biggest game, and it’s just such a big step for the program,” junior captain and leading scorer Maddie Parker said. “That’s a team we’ve wanted to beat, have been working hard to beat and beating that team shows that we’re a forced to be reckoned with.”

The Vikings’ turnaroud, the players say, began with the arrival of the sister coaching team of Katie and Lindsay Bitonti, who both played at Good Counsel for still-Coach Michael Haight and were a part of his first WCAC championship team. The Bitontis took over the job prior to last season and brought renewed intensity and emphasized a year-longcommitment to the sport that hadn’t been a part of the culture at Whitman.

“In past years, the lacrosse program has been kind of a joke to not only the players but to people at the school,” senior captain Josie Schwartz said. “But now, our teams outside the school have gotten more intense, as players we’ve gotten more into the sport, and bringing in those experienced coaches made a big difference.”

Led by Parker, who has scored four or more goals in three of her past four games and scored five against Churchill, the Vikings feature a strong corps of non-seniors, and hope to be building toward a deep playoff run and similar seasons in years to come.

“It’s just been so much fun beating our rivals that we lost to the past few years,” said senior captain Annabelle Scully, who cited the play of the Vikings underclassmen such as freshman Eden Gray and sophomores Hannah Ginsky and Jenna Hosker as a big part of this year’s success. “. . . We have a bunch of freshmen and sophomores on our team that are excelling and going to help keep the program excelling in future years.”

Mount Hebron edges Marriotts Ridge

Though games between Howard County rivals Marriotts Ridge and Mount Hebron are usually close, this season looked like a year in which Marriotts Ridge might have the advantage. After all, the Vikings had lost nine starters from a team that couldn’t beat the Mustangs in two 2013 matchups, and Marriotts Ridge was loaded again.

But Vikings Coach Trish Derwart’s philosophy is that “there’s always a way to win.” Derwart and Mount Hebron found such a way on a soggy Mount Hebron field Saturday morning, edging the Mustangs, 11-10, in a game pushed out from under the Friday night lights by heavy rain.

“We approached them as we approach any team: trying to maximize our strengths and minimize theirs,” Derwart said. “We were able to do a nice job possessing the ball and getting the ball controls, which was conducive to pulling out the win. The ball bounced our way this time, but we are very aware it could’ve gone the other way.”

Under Armour All-American Jennifer Giles scored five goals and fellow junior Chachi Kelehan four to lead the Vikings, who hadn’t beaten Marriotts Ridge since the 2012 playoffs.

The Post Top 10

St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes suffered its first loss of the season, 12-11 to IAAM A’s Roland Park Country. . . . Broadneck never trailed in a 12-8 win over Good Counsel last week and then earned a 15-10 win over South River thanks to six goals from Ellie McNulty . . . Spalding fell 18-12 to national No. 1 McDonogh on Friday, but the Cavaliers’ 12 goals are the second-most scored by any team on McDonogh since 2012.

1. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (21-1) LW: 1

2. Bishop Ireton (13-4) LW: 4

3. Good Counsel (10-4) LW: 3

4. Georgetown Visitation (10-6) LW: 5

5. Spalding (15-5) LW: 6

6. Broadneck (10-2) LW: 10

7. Mount Hebron (12-1) LW: 9

8. Marriotts Ridge (11-2) LW: 2

9. Madison (9-0) LW: 8

10. Severn (12-4) LW: 7

On the bubble: Westfield (11-1), Sherwood (9-0), Severna Park (9-2)

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