Marriotts Ridge downs Century to take Maryland 3A/2A girls’ lacrosse title

May 21, 2013

Marriotts Ridge senior Zoe Stukenberg spent most of the Maryland 3A/2A girls’ lacrosse state final dodging one Century defender after another. The Knights kept their focus on the All-Met midfielder, forcing her to look for an open teammate if she wanted to keep the offense running smoothly.

As the final seconds ticked off a dominating 15-5 win Tuesday at UMBC, Stukenberg stood unguarded with the ball in her stick. Fittingly, she dished off one final pass, hitting junior Taylor Hensh before she threw her hands skyward and dashed off to celebrate the Mustangs’ second state title in three seasons.

Despite all that attention, Stukenberg managed to close her decorated career in style. She posted three goals and six assists, and senior Maggie Brooks netted a season-high five goals as Marriotts Ridge finished the victory over six-time state champ Century with a running clock.

“Every single person on our team performed at their best,” Stukenberg said. “It’s ending on the best possible note.”

A year ago, Marriotts Ridge had its repeat bid stopped in the region final by rival Mount Hebron. This time, the Mustangs (18-1) left little doubt on the way to the title, closing with a convincing performance.

After Hensh scored the first of her three goals 53 seconds in, the Howard County champions led the rest of the way. The University of Maryland commit burst down the middle of the defense with one powerful cut and fired in the shot that put Century (16-3) in a hole it never escaped.

Stukenberg said she was frustrated by her lack of goals early against Century’s constant pressure, but she didn’t let it show. The University of Maryland recruit demonstrated the patience to make the smart play and allow her teammates to do the finishing.

Brooks, in particular, took advantage, scoring four goals in the game’s opening 27 minutes. The Salisbury recruit added another from Stukenberg with about eight minutes left that triggered the running clock.

“I think this was maybe one of the best games we’ve played all year,” Brooks said. “Everyone was on. Everyone was working together. It was beautiful.”

When defenders swarmed Stukenberg in front of the net, she consistently found a way to peel away and flick off a pass. All six of her assists came via close-range shots on similar plays, including back-to-back possessions early in the second half that helped bury the Knights.

By the time Stukenberg netted her first goal of the game off a free position with 17 minutes 5 seconds left in the game, Marriotts Ridge held a 12-2 lead. She finished her senior season with 75 goals and 47 assists in 19 games.

“To be honest, I don’t think there’s a way to stop her,” Century Coach Becky Trumbo said. “You can kind of deter her a little bit from having a huge game, but you’re not going to stop her.”

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