For four years Marissa Davey has watched her role on the No. 9 Marriotts Ridge girls’ lacrosse team evolve from high-scoring freshman to team leader. She saw older, more experienced players carry the team to state championships in 2011 and 2013 as her goal totals increased over the years.
Now, with a trip to the Maryland 3A/2A state final secured after an emphatic 19-3 win against Hereford, Davey is taking on the responsibility that comes with being a senior on the most prolific team in the state tournament.
“Me and all my teammates, the seniors — we realize this is on us,” Davey said. “We’re responsible, and this year, I can help win or lose a state championship.”
Marriotts Ridge will face Oakdale, a 10-8 winner of Stephen Decatur, in the state final.
Davey got the Mustangs (17-2) out to quick lead with three goals in the first six minutes of the game at Annapolis High. The UMBC-bound attack finished with six goals. Marriotts Ridge was up 6-0 before Hereford (17-1) had attempted its first shot.
The Mustangs had prepared in practice for the Bulls’ zone defense and held a 13-1 lead after the first half by emphasizing their cuts. Davey’s classmates Taylor Hensh and Alexis Zadjura contributed four and three goals, respectively. Hensh, a Maryland-bound midfielder and 2013 U.S. Lacrosse all-American honorable mention, brought her season total to 82 goals and dominated the draws. The Bulls won just five draws, and the majority came after Hensh had finally stepped out of the game with 15 minutes left.
Hensh remembers watching the devastated seniors exit the playoffs early in 2012 in the region finals against Mount Hebron. The Mustangs righted the score between the Howard County rivals last year by knocking off the Vikings in the region finals on their way to the 2013 title.
But that was Hensh’s junior year. She got her second title in three years, but she knows there is still no guarantee she will be able to end her high school career with a championship. Being a senior on a team with two state championships to its name doesn’t take the pressure off. If anything, it makes winning that last game even more important.
“I want that championship more than anything,” Hensh said. “When we lost in regionals, and seeing our seniors walk away without a title — after seeing that, we know that we don’t want that.”
The Mustangs — who improved to 69-5 over the past four years — will graduate 11 seniors, with players headed to Maryland, UMBC, Johns Hopkins, Monmouth, Elon, Wagner, Lindenwood and Columbia. Some of the teammates — including Davey, Hensh and Zadjura — have played together since fourth grade. They’ll trade in their white and navy blue uniforms in less than a week, win or lose. After the state final, the next time they’re on the field together, it will be as opponents.
“This is the end of everything, the last time we’ll play with each other,” Davey said. “I just want to say I ended high school with a win in the state championships and go out hard and give everything.”