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(Enlarge) Marriotts Ridge players celebrate their first state championship in girls lacrosse. The Mustangs defeated Century, 8-4, to win the Class 3A/2A state title. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda)

Glenelg defeats Patterson Mill, 5-4, to win boys 2A/1A title.

Four goals — that’s what separated Marriotts Ridge from Century a year ago when the Knights of Carroll County ended the Mustangs’ season in the state semifinals.

Four goals separated the teams again Tuesday night in the Class 3A/2A state championship game played at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, only this time Marriotts Ridge won, 8-4. Century was the two-time defending state champion.

“Wow!” said Marriotts Ridge coach Natalie Gaieski, summing up her team’s newly minted state title. It is the first girls team championship at Marriotts Ridge, and comes in the school’s fifth year as a varsity program.

“I knew this was a special group coming into the beginning of the season,” Gaieski said.

Although Marriotts Ridge missed out on a county title and the District V title, the Mustangs are more than happy to be region and state champions.

The play Tuesday wasn’t always pretty for two teams that combined for nearly 600 goals this season, but that’s a mark of the intensity that each team brought to UMBC.

“I never thought I’d see the day we’d be held to four goals,” said Century coach Becky Trumbo. “(Marriotts Ridge) got us out of our offense. Whether we were intimidated or we weren’t running things correctly, they did a nice job of forcing us to do that.”

The Marriotts Ridge defense forced Century into 18 turnovers.

“We didn’t handle their pressure very well. ... In a big game, turnovers like that are a big deal. In the first half, three of our turnovers led to their goals,” Trumbo said.

“Century has such great players, but I felt like we were able to get into their heads,” said Zoe Stukenberg.

With a pair of goals from Nicole Grote and one each from Tori Thompson and Laura Maskell, Marriotts  Ridge led, 4-3, at the half.

The Mustang defense got even stingier in the second half. Anne Zabel said her teammates decided that, “We’re not letting them score. When they did score, we’d meet up and fix the mistakes that we made.”

Watching Century in a earlier game and on film, Marriotts Ridge saw tendencies.

“I noticed that every single shot was high, they were popping the corners,” said Mustang keeper Stephanie Ortell (five saves). “I don’t think I dropped my stick once tonight. They were high, high, high.”

Marriotts Ridge nearly shut Century out in the second half. The Knights’ only goal came with 44 seconds remaining to play, but by then Marriotts Ridge had a five-goal advantage.

“The first half, we were freelancing (on offense). In the second half, we started to calm down and play our game,” said senior Alanna Diffendal.

“We didn’t necessarily have our most amazing offensive game,” said Stukenberg. But it as good enough.

The Marriotts Ridge scoring was spread among Grote (three goals), Maskell (two), Diffendal, Thompson and Emily Cooke.

Jill Remenapp (three goals) and Abby Remenapp accounted for Century’s goals. Their sister, Allison, made three saves in goal.

All season long, the Marriotts Ridge motto has been: Make it happen. Tuesday night, the Mustangs did.

Goals: MR - N. Grote 3, Maskell 2, Thompson, Cooke, Diffendal. C - J. Remenapp 3, A. Remenapp.
Assists: MR - Thompson, N. Grote, Cooke. C - A. Remenapp.
Saves: MR - S. Ortell 5. C - Allison Remenapp.
Halftime: Marriotts Ridge, 4-3.

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