CATONSVILLE, Md. — The Marriotts Ridge bench spilled out onto midfield, the Mustangs’ reserves rushing past their dejected opponents to hug their teammates. It was a scene befitting of a state championship postgame celebration — except it came at halftime of Wednesday’s Maryland 3A/2A state final against Oakdale.
Players embraced each other and laughed, and a few danced as they took the field to begin the second half.
After scoring the first dozen goals in the first half, Marriotts Ridge remained in control the final 25 minutes, putting the finishing touches on its second consecutive state title with a resounding 18-5 win over Oakdale at UMBC.
It was a dominant day for a team with a unique makeup. There was pressure for many of the Mustangs’ seniors, who had to find new ways to get up for each game after winning state titles in two of their first three years. The team played with three sets of sisters and won with a blend of experience and youth — including Maryland-bound Under Armour all-American Taylor Hensh, who scored five goals, and sophomores Lexi Souder and Carly Miller, who combined for another five.
“I think this one has something special because we won our last game,” Davey said. “Last time we’ll ever be on the field together, we’ll go off with a win.”
Marriotts Ridge (17-2) was nearly perfect in the first half. It used crisp passing and movement to score on five of its first six possessions — and Oakdale had just two offensive possessions in the Mustangs’ zone in the first 10 minutes of the game. After Souder made it 7-0 with 12 minutes 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Hensh and Davey added two goals apiece in the ensuing five minutes to push the lead to 11-0 and essentially put the title away.
“At that point, we came out hard. After that we wanted to run the clock and just stay up and play our game,” Hensh said.
It was a difficult end for Oakdale (16-3), which is in just its third year of varsity competition. More than half of its players are underclassmen, and the Mustangs’ size and strength dictated the pace.
“It was definitely surprising because we’ve never seen a team of that caliber,” Oakdale goalie Melissa Semkiw said.
While Marriotts Ridge has established itself as one of the premier lacrosse programs in Maryland over the last several years, the numbers it put up this postseason were staggering. The Mustangs posted 77 goals and allowed just 28 in five playoff games, and Hensh finished her senior year with 87 goals.
By the end of the game, the team celebrated in full by mobbing each other in the middle of the field. After the trophies were collected in the postgame ceremony, there was already talk of passing the torch.
“Graduating nine seniors, it’s going to be a lot of pressure,” said Miller, a sophomore. “We’ll get there. We had a lot seniors graduate last year, and we brought the momentum this year. It’s just going to be a lot of hard work, but I think we’ll keep going.”