It was the home opener for the Meade girls lacrosse team, which looked to avenge a loss to Northeast as they took on the Hammond Bears.
Last season when these teams faced off against one another, the Mustangs were able to sneak out a 15-14 win on a last second goal. However, this year’s hard fought game went in the Bears favor as they went on to defeat the Mustangs 12-10.
After two early goals for Hammond by Aryss Lindsey, Meade got several shots on net and around the net but wasn’t able to convert any of its chances. The Mustangs got on the board thanks to senior Kristi King.
After a face off that the Mustangs lost initially, King was able to regain possession, drive through the defense and finish off one of her five goals on the night.
Hammond responded with a goal from Rachel McClanahan to put the Bears back up by two, but goals from King and junior Erin Heritage tied up the game at three with under 11 minutes left in the first half.
The teams continued to challenge each other with strong play on both sides of the ball as the half winded down. With three minutes left in the first half, Hammond scored three goals in a 1:30 time span giving them a three goal advantage.
Heritage added one more goal with 20 seconds left in the half to bring Meade within two, trimming the Bears lead down to 7-5 at halftime.
Coming out of halftime Hammond continued to dominate throughout the second half and it always maintained a lead of at least two goals for the rest of the game.
Meade continued to be led by Heritage and King who both provided all of the offense for the Mustangs, but Meade still couldn’t mount a comeback. King brought Meade within two again with two minutes remaining in the game, but missed opportunities for the Mustangs toward the end secured the 12-10 win for Hammond.
Hammond coach Bill Smith said there were many keys to the win tonight, including the ball movement.
“Offensively we are moving the ball but we haven’t had a lot of practice time,” Smith said. “Once we do I think we’ll start to gel.”
Smith wants to focus on getting better possession and taking more time off the clock.
“We’re going to have to possess the ball for longer periods of time and take time off the clock when the game gets close,” he said. “But when you’re scoring 12 goals I understand why the girls want to go [toward the goal].”
First year Meade coach Dave Mason knows there will be growing pains, but also knows his team can handle adversity,
“The team that got [more] ground balls won the game,” he said. “We did a lot of really good things on defense and offense.”
Heritage said the team has to be more focused next game.
“We were hustling a lot and every time they scored we fought back,” she said. “But next game we have to come out more determined [to get] ground balls and hungrier for the win overall.”
King, who has committed to U Mass Lowell to play lacrosse, played in her final home game ever as she is due for shoulder surgery on her dislocated shoulder in two weeks.
King said she will definitely miss playing on the Meade’s home turf.
“I definitely owe a lot to Meade so I am going to try and leave everything I have on this field,” she said. “I wouldn’t be going where I’m going if it wasn’t for this team so I am going to give it everything I got every single game and cherish every moment.”
Meade’s next game is Friday, March 24 at Annapolis and it won’t return home until April 21 when it takes on Old Mill.