Baltimore Highlight and Command squads roll on Saturday; both boys teams also reach championship brackets
by Nelson Coffin
Rising senior attacker Hannah Leubecker said that she didn’t count the number of goals she scored in Baltimore girls Highlight’s 17-6 victory over CONNY (Connecticut-New York) on Saturday morning at the 2018 Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Weekend at Towson University.
The homeschooled Maryland commit — one of 10 future Terps on the squad — was more concerned with how well her team executed in the Baltimoreans’ second straight win in the tourney after falling to Philadelphia in yesterday’s pool-play opener.
“We were really moving the ball well today,” said Baltimore coach Abby Swift (John Carroll School). “It was all about seeing the field and seeing the offense (unfold).”
With goal-differential being a key tiebreaker in final playoff seedings, the Baltimoreans continued to push the ball forward against CONNY.
“We were a little selfish in our first game because everybody wanted to be the one to win the game,” said Leubecker, who finished with a game-high seven goals. “But today we were playing together really well, feeding and driving.”
Leading, 7-2, at halftime, the locals poured it on over the final 20 minutes under a broiling sun.
Rising senior attackers Whitney Albert (St. Mary’s) and Victoria Hensch (Marriotts Ridge) joined rising senior midfielders Shannon Smith (Roland Park Country School), Sophia Andropolous (Maryvale Prep) and Kiki Shaw (Roland Park) were the most active players orchestrating or finishing quick scoring opportunities.
“The first game, we weren’t used to playing with each other,” Swift added. “But we’re feeling a lot more confident now.”
Baltimore’ completed its Saturday slate with another key win, rallying past the District, 10-9, to earn a rematch with Philadelphia in the playoffs on Sunday at 10 a.m. Leubecker scored the winning goal.
The Baltimore girls Command team was even more dominating on Saturday in routing the West, 17-3, to finish pool play with a perfect 4-0 mark and earn a bye into the playoffs on Sunday at 11:45 a.m..
The squad, coached by Glenelg Country School coach Brian Reese, Bryn Mawr coach Brooke Matthews and Notre Dame Prep coach Mac Ford, averaged more than 15 goals per game and outscored opponents, 61-19.
Against the West, the Baltimore girls built a 14-0 advantage before the West was finally able to score against a team featuring
low defenders such as Paris Colgain (St. Paul’s School), Kennedy Major (Gerstell Academy) and Haley Polk (Gerstell Academy) playing in front of goalies Elyse Finnelle (Southern) and Jocelyn Torres (Glenelg).
Charm City midfielders Anna Andrews (Bryn Mawr), Shayna Brodman (Bryn Mawr), Kari Edmondson (McDonogh), Christina Gagnon (St. Paul’s School for Girls), Demma Hall (Century), Ellie Hollin (John Carroll), Adair Martin (RPCS), Kailey Pelkey (NDP), Cecilia Pell (Glenelg Country School), Madison Sterling (John Carroll), Ava Washington (Franklin) and Samantha White (Dulaney) were also very active at both ends of the field.
Attacker Mia Rehkemper (Mount de Sales), who had a goal and four assists in the game, said that her team’s ability to score in a variety of ways makes mischief for enemy defenses.
“We’ve really been coming together,” she said. “And we’re not relying on just one player to score. We have a lot of people who can score.”
She also said that the playoffs won’t be quite as easy.
“We’ll be playing better teams,” Rehkemper said. “So we’ll have to play better, too.”
On the boys side, the Command Team suffered its only loss in poll play, falling to CONNY, 13-7, in an early morning the contest. Both teams finished 3-1 in the bracket and both advanced into Sunday’s seeded championship bracket.
The Baltimore Command will play Philadelphia at 9:15 a.m. Sunday and if it wins, it will earn a rematch with CONNY in an 11:45 semifinal game. In its first game of the tournament, on Thursday, Baltimore edged Philadelphia, 9-6.
In the Boys Highlight Division, Baltimore won twice on Saturday to finish 4-0 in pool play. In it’s first game of the day, Baltimore defeated Washington, DC, 9-5, and then routed CONNY, in the afternoon, 12-3.
Th Baltimore Highlight will have a first round bye in Sunday’s championship bracket, playing a semifinal game against the winner of Philadelphia and the West at 1 p.m.