Early in the season, the Broadneck girls’ lacrosse team had a habit of starting slowly. On a few occasions, the Bruins found themselves down three, four, or even five goals in the first half, only to charge back as the game wore on. A few times, they completed the comeback. Twice, against top county foes, they fell short.

But Wednesday in Annapolis, Broadneck turned in its best start of the season against the best opponent on its schedule, No. 3 Good Counsel. The Bruins scored twice in the first five minutes and opened up a six-goal first-half lead to stun the defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion Falcons, 12-8.

“We had a great first half, which is something we’ve been working on,” senior midfielder Ellie McNulty said. “We did a great job on the draw, which helps, and the coaches have done a great job preparing us to come out and be ready in the first half.”

First-year Broadneck Coach Katy Kelley and her team focused on the slow-start problem, emphasizing intensity in practice, working on their pregame mindset and focusing on strong, engaged warmups. Subtly, that focus worked, aiding the Bruins (8-2) in four straight wins against top Maryland public school teams coming into Wednesday night’s game.

“We knew this was going to be one of our toughest games, but after Saturday [an overtime win over Roland Park County], they wanted to perform,” Kelley said. “They had a lot of momentum, and they wanted to start strong and they did.”

The hot start began on the draw with McNulty. The Princeton commit scored Broadneck’s first goal, and helped the Bruins grab the majority of first-half draw controls. More possessions led to more Bruins scoring opportunities, but just as importantly, kept the ball out of the sticks of dangerous Good Counsel attackers.

Even when emerging sophomore midfielder Brianna Harris went down with a foot injury early, Broadneck kept pace with the Falcons all over the field. While McNulty and classmate Natalie Hendricks accounted for five of the Bruins’ first seven goals — building Broadneck’s 7-1 lead — it was the seeming omnipresence of the Bruins defense that fostered their strong first 20 minutes.

Aided in part by some calls that went their way and big goals in key moments, the Bruins were able to ride the cushion of that quick start through a few Good Counsel rallies, and ultimately hold off the Falcons (9-4).

“This is huge,” said McNulty with a big smile after her team never trailed against the nationally-ranked Falcons. “It’s so exciting.”