Baltimore girls lacrosse teams split with Philadelphia at Under Armour Underclassmen Lacrosse Games; Highlight prevails on Hall’s goal while Command falls in extra session

by Nelson Coffin

Things did not go well in the early going for the Baltimore Highlight girls against Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon at Meadowood Park in the Under Armour Underclass Lacrosse Games.

Trailing, 4-0, the locals had to pull out all the stops before prevailing, 12-11, in overtime on a goal by rising senior attacker Maggi Hall (Bel Air) off a feed by Payton Rowley on the first possession of the extra session.

Rising Baltimore Highlight senior attackers (from left) Maggi Hall (goal) and Payton Rowley (assist) combined to produce the winning goal in overtime against Philadelphia on Saturday at the Under Armour Underclass Lacrosse Games at Meadowood Park.

Rowley said she was as surprised as anyone when the ball bounced her way after a mad scramble along the sideline for possession off rising senior Kayla Abernathy’s draw that pushed the ball toward Baltimore’s side of the field.

“Just to see the ball coming toward me — it was just like field hockey,” Rowley, a rising junior attacker from Maryvale Prep, said. “Then I saw Maggi creeping inside (the 8-meter mark). I knew if she caught it, she’d make it.”

After catching Rowley’s feed, Hall had to use her athleticism to deposit the ball in the net.

“It was kind of awkward,” the Florida commit said. “I had to rotate my body all the way around (to unleash a shot).”

In some ways, it was poetic justice for Hall, whose apparent goal in the final seconds of regulation was disallowed when it was ruled that she stepped in the crease before shooting.

The victory completed a perfect 4-0 run for the coach Brian Reese’s team and earned the squad a bye into the semifinal round in Sunday’s playoff against the winner of Washington, D.C. and New England at 11:45 a.m at St. Paul’s School in Brooklandville.

Should Baltimore continue its winning ways, it would advance to the championship game, which is slated for 3:30 p.m. at the same site on Sunday.

Both Hall and Rowley said that winning all four encounters in pool play was as difficult as it was rewarding.

“It was such a big deal,” Rowley said. “But once we started to score all those goals in the first half, I knew we could beat them.”

The flurry of goals in the first half were contributed by rising senior attacker Izzy Marsh (McDonogh), rising senior midfielders Eloise Clevenger (Marriotts Ridge) and Kristin O’Neill (Archbishop Spalding), Hall and rising junior midfielder Adair Martin (Bryn Mawr), bringing the Baltimoreans to within striking distance, 6-5, at the half.

Clevenger then tied the score early in the second half on a strong drive to the goal before Philly went on a 3-0 run to jump back on top, 9-6.

However, Baltimore fought back on goals by rising senior midfielders Shannon Smith (Roland Park Country School), Ella Little (McDonogh) and Marielle McAteer (St. Mary’s, assisted by Hall) and Hall (assisted by Clevenger) to eventually knot the score.

The Baltimore Command girls weren’t as fortunate, falling to Philly, 9-8, on a goal by Sydney Witwer.

Rising sophomore midfielder Caroline Godine (McDonogh) scored twice for Baltimore, which received single goals from rising sophomore midfielders Grace Driggs (St. Mary’s), Hannah Johnson (Bryn Mawr), Emma Murphy and Finley Barger (Notre Dame Prep).

Rising freshmen midfielders Maisy Clevenger and Emily Peek also had goals for Baltimore.

Peyton Howell recorded a pair of assists for Baltimore, which will pursue a championship if it can get by Washington, D.C. on Sunday at 8 a.m. at St. Paul’s School for Girls.

Pictured above: Baltimore Highlight attacker Madison Sterling probes the Philadelphia defense in the locals’ 12-11 overtime triumph on Saturday at Meadowood Park.