For 11 minutes and 43 seconds on Saturday at Washington College, Glenelg High School’s field hockey team looked rather mortal.
Montgomery County contender Poolesville had taken a 1-0 lead 6:29 into the game off a Sarah Onderko rebound, which put Glenelg in a position that they hadn’t been in a single time all year: losing.
“I was surprised how quick we scored,” admitted senior Kelsey Carnahan.
The Falcons’ lead, no matter how surprising it was for many in Chestertown, would hold through two corners and as many shots. But that’s when Glenelg’s hyperactive and uber-athletic sophomore midfielder, Megan Taylor, began finding the holes in the normally stingy Falcon defense which ultimately led to Glenelg’s third consecutive state title as it downed Poolesville 5-1.
“They had great speed, they were probably the quickest team we’ve faced all year,” Poolesville coach Regina Grubb said. “I would probably say, collectively, [they were] probably the best team, stick skills and speed wise. I just wanted to play with them and give them our best shot.”
Taylor got things started when she took in a pass on the left side of the field, raced through the Poolesville half and pushed in a cross that bounded precariously in front of Madison Lamanna’s cage. Glenelg’s Danielle Baker spit it back out into the middle of the circle where her senior teammate, Ivy Meissner, was waiting. Her shot had just enough gas on it to get past Lamanna, who kept Century scoreless six days earlier despite the Knights picking up 17 corners.
It took another 8:30 for the speedy Taylor to create some space deep in Poolesville territory again and send another cross in front of the cage. But this time Baker wouldn’t dish it out, instead pushing it in herself to give Glenelg a 2-1 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“I think we got really frazzled and nervous so we started to clump up a little and then after the first two goals they had we kind of put our heads down,” Poolesville senior defender Kelly Hughes said. “But we realized we had nothing to lose so we tried to keep working on it and keep going throughout the whole game.”
Taylor would finish with just one of five Glenelg goals, a total the Gladiators reached in 12 of 17 games this season, but it was her speed that created a mess of problems for the Falcons’ defense.
“They were tough,” Hughes said. “We came in pretty strong and we weren’t really tired or anything they were just tough.”
Poolesville got a few opportunities late in the game but Glenelg keeper Amanda Hoyt was just about everywhere. Earlier in the first half she sprawled out to stuff an Allie Greene shot from point blank range and it took a similar effort to keep Emily Fisher off the board when it looked like the Poolesville senior had a wide open net to work with. But Hoyt stretched out every inch of her frame and sent the ball harmlessly beyond the baseline.
“It was actually a great career,” Grubb said of her seniors. “For them to be able to improve their game throughout the four years as much as they did and be able to come to two state titles it’s really amazing.”
The loss marked Montgomery County’s sixth straight year without a state title. The last local team to win it was Quince Orchard in 2006. Since then, the county’s finalists have gone 0-7 in championship play.
Glenelg 5, Poolesville 1
Glenelg (16-1) 2 3—5
Glenelg—Ivy Meissner, Danielle Baker, Emily Russo, Megan Taylor, Tagne Vandewall.
Glenelg—Danielle Baker (3), Megan Taylor.