CAMBRIDGE — A 5-0 deficit was too big for Kent County to overcome in the quarterfinal round of the Class 1A East Region girls lacrosse tournament.
Cambridge (7-7) eliminated youthful Kent, 12-3, May 10, despite a scoring drought of nearly 21 minutes in the second half.
Junior twins Morgan Tracy and Bayley Tracy each scored five goals to help Cambridge avenge last year’s 8-7 playoff loss at home to Kent County.
Morgan Tracy’s free-position goal with 20 minutes, 23 seconds remaining in the first half gave the host Vikings a 4-0 lead and held up as the winning goal.
Her third tally of the half, at the 6:18 mark, restored Cambridge’s four-goal lead, 7-3, and was the 100th goal of her career.
Bayley Tracy scored twice in the final 3:04 — once on a free position and the other time against a defenseless keeper — to extend the spread to 9-3 at intermission.
The Trojans (2-10) stepped up their defensive game in the second half, keeping their hosts off the scoreboard until Morgan Tracy capitalized on a free-position chance with 4:39 to play, but their offense sputtered.
Captain Taiyana Goldsborough, one of only two seniors on the Kent County roster, said “the pressure of knowing we had to score hit hard.”
The Trojans had scoring chances, lots of them in fact over the final 25 minutes, but they were unable to finish. Annie Page Brocker’s free-position shot 2:13 into the second half caromed off the foot of goalie Sara Brooks and Brooks played catch with Brocker on another free-position chance 1:14 later.
Katie Wade’s free-position shot with 15:27 remaining thumped Brooks in the chest and bounced out of harm’s way. Less than a minute later, Brooks made a stop on a shot taken from close range.
Annie Squire Southworth made six of her eight saves in the second half to keep the Trojans in the game, but their shots were not finding the back of the net.
A check from behind altered freshman attacker Gracie Walters’ shot at the top of the crease with 9:15 to play, freshman midfielder Natalie Walls was unable to solve Brooks on a fast-break following an interception at midfield at the 7-minute mark, and two minutes after that Brooks came up with another save on the doorstep.
Eventually, the Vikings broke through.
Morgan Tracy’s free-position goal with 4:39 remaining started a 3-0 flurry that finished off the win. She recorded her fifth goal just 25 seconds later with a laser shot that found the right upper corner of the net.
Bayley Tracy slipped in the final goal with all but 42.5 seconds elapsed.
The Trojans had three good looks over the final three and a half minutes, including Sella Conner’s bounce shot on a free-position chance that was saved by Brooks.
Goldsborough said she was very proud of how well the Trojans played defensively in the second half, and attributed the late surrender to “sheer exhaustion.”
“We were running all out and double-teaming,” she said.
The die was cast, it seems, with the Vikings’ early 5-0 start.
“We dug ourselves in a hole, and in a sport like this it’s hard to come back,” Kent’s first-year head coach Madison Beres said.
Morgan Tracy won 11 of 13 first-half draw controls, which played a huge part in Cambridge’s early success.
Brooke Blades dented the scoreboard with only 50 seconds gone. Cambridge scored four unanswered goals in the opening 4:37 and increased the spread to 5-0 with 17:18 remaining in the first half.
Wade had the Trojans’ first shot, which dinged off the post at the 18:45 mark.
Walters’ free-position shot with 16:02 remaining in the half ended the shutout. Walters placed her shot in the left corner. While Wade was not given an assist on the goal, she made it possible with an interception at the other end that gave the Trojans the ball.
Walters also scored the Trojans’ second goal, with Lisa Robinson getting the helper, at 14:18.
Kent closed to 5-3 with 11:24 remaining in the half when Goldsborough fooled Brooks with a shot from the right side that found the opposite corner. Conner had the assist.
Cambridge, which had been kept off the board for more than 10 minutes, ended the half with four unanswered goals — all scored by the Tracy twins.
The physicality of play increased in the second half, perhaps due to the recent history between the two sides. In the regular-season game April 30 at Cambridge, the Vikings came from behind to defeat Kent’s girls, 12-11.
And then there was the Trojans’ upset victory at Cambridge last year in the region semifinals.
In the latest contest, there were several instances of Kent girls getting knocked down and knocked around without drawing a whistle. Brocker, Robinson and Walls came out at some point in the second half due to injury.
“I’m proud of how hard they tried. The effort was there,” Beres said. “There has been so much improvement this year from a young team.”
Kent will graduate only Goldsborough and Jaylin Redman. Goldsborough will attend Division II Millersville on a partial athletic scholarship as a lacrosse recruit, while Redman is intending to play field hockey at Arcadia.
NOTES: Cambridge defeated higher-seeded Bohemia Manor, 15-4, to advance to the 1A East final where defending state champion Patterson Mill prevailed, 16-6.
Patterson Mill (10-6) is back in the 1A state championship game after knocking out West Region winner Boonsboro, 17-5.
Loch Raven (North Region) is the other state finalist after defeating McDonough (South Region), 16-5.