Liberty girls get repeat opportunity in 1A state girls lacrosse behind Thompson’s big night; Southern boys drops Smithsburg

Val Thompson carried Liberty back to the Class 1A state girls lacrosse final Friday night. The senior scored seven goals as the reigning champ Lions defeated Southern in a state semifinal contest at Havre de Grace.

by Adrian Martin

Two one-sided affairs were the result of the boys and girls Class 1A state lacrosse semifinal games in Havre de Grace on Friday.

Southern High’s boys secured their first state finals appearance since 2017 with a 13-6 win over Smithsburg from Washington County, while the Southern girls could not complete the sweep, falling to reigning state champion, Liberty, 18-7.

None of the four Lions’ playoff victories, all on the road, have been close. Liberty coach Tom Brandel attributes that to Liberty’s extremely tough schedule during the regular season, which saw the team lose four one-goal contests and enter the region tournament with a .500 record.

“Carroll County lacrosse is the best public school lacrosse in the state,” he said. “In our out-of-county schedule, we hosted a tournament and invited the best teams in the state to it. We prepare our girls to be successful.”

Val Thompson, who led the Lions (11-7 overall) with seven goals, is one of just two seniors on the team but one of seven who have already committed to playing lacrosse in college. She and her teammates ran at the net with an intensity the Bulldogs simply couldn’t match.

“We’ve been working on a couple of things on offense; just really trying to include everybody in all of our plays,” Thompson said. “Every time we get on offense we’re looking to score immediately. Pedal to the metal the whole game.”

Liberty jumped out to a 4-1 lead, with all four goals being scored by a different player. The Bulldogs (9-7) quickly tied the game with three goals in four minutes, but the Lions took control after that, scoring nine unanswered through the first few minutes of the second half.

Liberty out-shot Southern 27-12. Riley Matthiesen scored five goals while, Jenna Evans added three.

“We thought our transition offense would really work well today,” Brandel said. “We tried to work the ball down the field as quick as we could.”

Senior Lyndsey Miller scored four goals for the Bulldogs, while goalkeeper Leah Perkins notched nine saves.

After two seasons greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Southern head coach Cortney Yeatman was proud of how her players responded.

“Our mindset this year was strong body, focused mind, kind heart,” she said. “We wanted to work on mental toughness and be a family, and we’ve definitely done that.”

The Lions now look to repeat as champions, a goal they’ve had in their sights all season long.

“We’ve had “Repeat” on the back of our shirt for a reason,” Brandel said. “Nobody can take away our state championship last year. The banner’s up but we’re focused on putting another banner next to it. We’re excited to be there.”

The Bulldog boys secured their way to victory with an aggressive defense that jostled the ball lose throughout the game. They took a modest 4-1 lead into halftime before the offense shifted into high gear, scoring four straight goals in the third period.

“The kids played really hard and they executed,” Southern coach Brendan Brace said. “The kids stayed patient and they were unselfish. They all like to share the ball and shoot the ball.”

Ryan Gregoire worked up a sweat Friday for Southern boys lacrosse. The senior attack had six goals as the Bulldogs advance to the 1A state championship game with a 13-6 decision over Washington County’s Smithsburg.

Southern (13-5) eventually increased its lead to 12-3 before Smithsburg scored three late goals.

Senior Ryan Gregoire led the Bulldogs’ attack with six goals, which he made with a combination of quick passes from his teammates or his own sprints to the net.

“I was just cutting off the ball and they were making good passes,” he said. “(Smithsburg) took us down in semis last year, so we had a chip on our shoulder all year.”

Senior Tyler Wedick added three goals for Southern.

The Bulldogs have outscored their postseason opponents 70-10. They hope that dominance carries them to a state title.

“It feels good to be back there,” Brace said.


at Havre de Grace


Southern 13, Smithsburg 6

Southern 3 1 4 5 – 13

Smithsburg 0 1 1 4 – 6

Goals: So-Gregoire 6, Wedick 3, Haley, McGivern, Moon, Simi; Sm-Batey 2, Mazenko 2, Linn, Scholl.

Saves: So-Zak von Garrel 10; Sm-Gaunter 9.


Liberty 18, Southern 7

Liberty 11 7 – 18

Southern 4 3 – 7

Goals: L-Thompson 7, Matthiesen 5, Evans 3, Hollenberger, Jendrek, A. Pond; S-Miller 4, Huggins, Mudd, Rock.

Saves: L-E. Pond 4; S-Perkins 9.