GAITHERSBURG – In a game that saw the highest scoring deficit at two goals and whose outcome was not decided until a late second-half goal, the Gaithersburg High School girls lacrosse team was able to sneak away with a 9-8 win over Quince Orchard on April 5.
It was a tit-for-tat every minute of the match as both teams were evenly matched across the field. A stalwart defense by Quince Orchard at the start of the game gave way to a persistent Gaithersburg squad, who narrowed down a two-point lead into a match of attrition as both teams vied for a lead until the last few minutes of the game.
“That’s an excellent team down there. Quince Orchard is an excellent, excellent team. We wanted to play well tonight…this wasn’t like ‘hey we’re going to beat Quince Orchard.’ That’s not how it was,” said Gaithersburg Head Coach J. Maloney. “We just wanted to play well against a really good team, and that’s why I feel pretty fortunate we won.”
At the forefront of Gaithersburg’s game-winning offense were two players, described by Maloney as the team’s ‘bookends’ for their age disparity: freshman attacker Emma Thompson and senior attacker Sam Martinez. Both completed a hat trick with three goals each and were deadly in front of the goal, opting for close-range shots that penetrated Quince Orchard’s defense.
“We really wanted to do our best against them because they’re a hard team to beat,” said Martinez. “We really wanted it, so I think that helped us play really well with each other.”
Quince Orchard sophomore attacker Emma Christensen and junior midfielder Lyla Kim were each one goal shy of completing their own hat trick. Christensen’s two first-half goals gave the Cougars the lead, but it was not one they would keep for long, even as three other teammates scored.
“I think as a team, we could have done way better, but we all worked our butts off and we picked up each other’s errors and we all had each other’s backs on the field,” said Christensen.
Two goals by Thompson and senior Gaithersburg midfielder Sophie Couturier and one by Martinez tied the game up at five points apiece going into halftime. The frantic pace to get a lead forced a larger emphasis on offense over defense as there was usually about four minutes or less between scoring. The longest time without scoring in the first half was a little over seven minutes.
“On attack, we really worked on settling it (the ball) and looking for an open player. On defense, we worked a lot on staying with your cutter, and it obviously showed tonight,” said Thompson.
The scoring pace slowed after the second half, but both teams sought to get an elusive lead that neither could manage to keep. Martinez scored two goals in a row to complete her hat trick and scoring for the night, to finally put Gaithersburg on top.
Senior Quince Orchard midfielder Lauren Ransing tied the game with about six minutes left in the game, but Thompson scored the game winner and completed her hat trick two minutes later. Gaithersburg held their defensive line for the remaining time on the game clock and prevented any more goals. Meanwhile, Quince Orchard felt every turnover and focused solely on their attack in an attempt to salvage the game.
Disappointed with the result, Quince Orchard Head Coach Carly Stefanelli refused to comment.
Maloney described this game as a sort of redemption to make up for a 10-9 loss against Rockville on March 25, an equally close game that ended when Rockville made two goals in two minutes against them.
“We played a game against Rockville where we were up 9-8 with two minutes left and we lost that game,” said Maloney. “So maybe this was the lacrosse gods giving us something back.”