QUEEN ANNE'S GIRLS' LACROSSE

Queen Anne’s County’s Faith Novak (6) holds up the Bayside Conference championship trophy Monday after the Lions’ 17-5 victory over Stephen Decatur.

STEVENSVILLE — No one wants to lose, as Queen Anne’s County High girls’ head lacrosse coach Kesley Fitzgerald noted.

But last Friday’s regular season-ending 12-11 loss to county rival Kent Island may have proved a gentle jolt for a Lions team preparing to defend their Class 2A state championship.

Queen Anne’s certainly didn’t show any lingering effects from that setback Monday night at Andy Schipul Stadium, as it scored the last five goals of the first half and the first four of the second en route to a convincing 17-5 victory over Stephen Decatur for its first Bayside Conference championship since 2017.

“They came to practice on Saturday saying, ‘We’ll learn from it,’” Fitzgerald said of her team, which had its 10-game win streak ended by the Bucs. “That was one of our driving themes of the talk the next day: ‘You learn from losing.’ And if it’s going to happen, you want it to happen right before you get into the playoffs where you lose, you’re done.”

It took the Lions (11-2) a little while to get their offense in gear Monday. The Seahawks (7-5) took a 1-0 lead on Alina Bernal Clark’s goal 52 seconds into the game. Kendall Nagle (four goals) pulled Queen Anne’s even at 1-all less than a minute later. The Seahawks again nudged in front at 2-1, as Shelby Rosemond bounced a shot past Lions goalie Maddie George (four saves) with the game not quite 5 minutes old.

But Queen Anne’s steadily took control from there.

Jessica Wright (game-high five goals, one assist) tied the game 23 seconds after Rosemond’s strike. Piper Evans scored to put the Lions in front to stay with just under 18 minutes left in the first half, then fed Zoe Crawford, who zigzagged through Decatur’s defense for a goal 45 seconds later for a 4-2 Queen Anne’s lead.

Riley Klepper bounced a shot into the net on a free-position opportunity before Nagle converted an Ella Pinder pass for a goal and a 6-2 lead with 14:05 to go in the first half.

“We needed to get our offense and defense moving again,” Queen Anne’s senior standout defender Karlie Hickson said. “And we just really capitalized when we had the ball this game.”

Decatur called time, returned and cut its deficit to 6-3 on Bernel Clark’s second goal with 13:09 left in the half. But the Lions held Decatur scoreless over the next 25-plus minutes while expanding their lead to 15-3.

“We caused a ton turnovers on defense and I think that really set the tone,” Hickson said. “And then bringing it over on offense, we finished when we had possession, which is a big turnaround from Friday.”

Fitzgerald agreed.

“My defense is filled with experience,” Fitzgerald said. “Number four, Karlie Hickson, is an absolute rock star. And we have some young ones who have learned from her and learned from our experienced middies back there, and have really, really stepped up. They’ve learned the game. They’ve gotten louder. And at the end of the day they’re just natural athletes, and that’s what we want on defense.”

Ella Pinder (three goals, assist) started the Lions’ five-goal surge to close the first half with a free-position score with 11:22 left in the first. Nagle scored consecutive goals and Wright followed suit, as the Lions continuously sprinted in toward goal, deked and dodged defenders before snapping the ball into the back of the net.

“Women’s lacrosse, you want to move the goalie and we keep it simple,” Fitzgerald said. “A goalie changes on where she is when you change where you are. So at any given second a goalie can move and your job is to find the net. Don’t have a plan 30 yards out, 10 yards out. But make the adjustment on the fly and on the spot. You put it on the net and you move her, and if she’s not moving, you find the hole right away.”

Queen Anne’s continued finding openings to start the second half, as Wright and Nagle each scored, before Pinder dumped two more into the net for a 15-3 cushion with 14:55 remaining, triggering the running clock.

Audrey Mumford ended Decatur’s long scoring drought with 13:05 left and Kora Ketner scored less than 7 minutes later to pull the Seahawks within 15-5.

But Baillie Pinder and Wright scored in the final 4 minutes, giving Queen Anne’s the most lopsided victory ever in a Bayside girls’ lacrosse championship game.

“It was good to have a game to kind of put everybody back in check, where you need to make adjustments, or you need to make adjustments on the fly,” Fitzgerald said in reference to Kent Island. “I put a lot of trust and confidence in my girls, and I will even after we’ve lost, say the same thing and back them up. But we learned a lot from that last game and they came out ready to go today.”

SSPP 23, Easton 4

EASTON — Hattie Messick scored eight goals and set up five, and Emmary Sweeney totaled six goals and won 18 faceoffs as the Sabres completed an undefeated regular season with a rout of the Warriors on Monday.

Saints Peter and Paul (13-0) is scheduled to host Worcester Prep on Friday at 6 p.m. for the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship.

Evelyn Murphy had three goals and four assists for the Sabres and freshman Kendall Kroniser recorded a hat trick. Morgan Quade scored twice and set up another seven goals, Samantha Murphy had a goal and an assist, and Kathryn Murphy added two assists.

Softball

Queen Anne’s 16

Wicomico 0

CENTREVILLE — Emily Gunther faced 16 batters in five innings — just one over the minimum — striking out seven while crafting a one-hitter, as the Lions notched their eighth victory in nine games on Monday.

Gunther tripled and Sam Wilhoit and Ryleigh Jordan each had three hits as Queen Anne’s improved to 12-5.

North Caroline 12 Parkside 1

RIDGELY — Taylor Dawkins hurled a no-hitter, striking out 11, Hatteras Ghrist had two hits and drove in five runs Monday as the Bulldogs won their third straight.

Morgan Rogers had three hits, including a double for North Caroline (10-6), and Katie Tribbett and Mattison Lewis each had two hits. Lillian Williams, Emma Dansker and Bailey Werner had one hit apiece.

Follow me on Twitter @Bill_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@stardem.com

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