Marcus Jurado coached the Seneca Valley girls’ lacrosse team the past three seasons, so when he took the head job at Damascus in February, he was already well aware of the talent stocked in the Hornets’ 13-player senior class.
From the opposite sideline, Jurado had no answer for a group that includes six signed college recruits, five of whom are in their fourth varsity season. Now he’s doing his best to keep the surging Hornets on an upward path years in the making.
“It was kind of like one big thing in fifth grade,” senior Holly Lawrence said. “We all just decided to play because it looked really fun. We all loved it, and we’ve kept going, just working really hard.”
Damascus stayed on track Thursday with a dominating 18-5 nonleague victory over perennial Montgomery County power Churchill in Potomac. Lawrence scored seven goals, senior Cassidy Shollenberger chipped in five more and the Hornets netted the game’s first 13 goals in their finest performance of the young season.
With 10 returning starters, Damascus (3-0) has picked up right where it left off last spring when the team powered through a perfect regular season, winning all 12 games by at least nine goals.
The Hornets earned the top seed in the 2012 Maryland 3A/2A West playoffs and came within a victory of their first state tournament appearance before falling 20-5 to eventual state champion Century in the region final.
Lawrence (St. Francis (Pa.) and Shollenberger (George Washington) have sparked that success, leading an experienced offense with Old Dominion-bound attacker Colby Muller, who had three goals against Churchill. They’re all club teammates who have dropped their other sports to play lacrosse year-round.
“We’ve been together for so long that we feed off each other,” Shollenberger said. “We make each other better. It’s awesome to be playing with these girls because we progress as a team and not individually.”
On Thursday, Damascus showed it has improved on both ends this time around in blowing past Churchill, which has made three straight 4A/3A state tournament appearances.
The Hornets scored twice before the Bulldogs (1-2) ever gained possession, and senior Rachel Simoncic’s goal 20 minutes 6 seconds into the game made it 10-0 and triggered a running clock. Lawrence scored four times in the second half and now has a team-high16 goals in three games.
“They put it all together tonight,” Jurado said. “We’ve been talking about it, ‘When you finally put it together, you’re going to be a force to contend with in the state.’”