CENTREVILLE — RJ Ensor spends a lot of time working on her shot.
The Queen Anne’s County High sophomore could have talked about how that extra work paid dividends last Friday after she scored a season-high five goals to go with one assist. Instead, Ensor talked about teamwork.
“It was a team effort game,” said Ensor after the Lions scored the game’s last four goals and nearly shut out Stephen Decatur the entire second half on the way to a 9-7 come-from-behind victory that extended their winning streak to six. “We pulled it out together. We were there for each other. One mistake and we picked it back up and kept going.”
In a rematch of last year’s Bayside Conference championship — and a potential preview of this year’s conference title clash — the Seahawks (3-3) never trailed until Ensor scored on a free position play with 13 minutes, 52 seconds remaining for an 8-7 Lions lead. Baillie Pinder (goal, two assists) almost gave Queen Anne’s (6-1) a two-goal lead with 8:12 left but she was foiled by Decatur goalie Addison McDaniel (seven saves).
A little less that 3 minutes later, Ensor, moving left to right, found space, made a couple of stick fakes, then bounced her fifth goal past McDaniel for a 9-7 lead.
“She has a very good shot, and that comes from hours out in her yard by herself,” Queen Anne’s head coach Kesley Fitzgerald said of Ensor.
“I went out yesterday, right before this game, to prepare,” added Ensor with a beaming smile.
Queen Anne’s, which defeated Decatur 17-5 in last year’s conference championship, fell behind 4-1 less than 10 minutes into Friday’s contest, but pulled even at 5-5 when Pinder set up Zoe Crawford’s goal 3:40 before halftime.
Alina Bernal-Clark’s score nudged Decatur back in front with 1:26 left in the first half. Sadie Kauffman (three goals, two assists) then set up Shelby Rosemond’s goal 58 seconds into the second half for a 7-5 Decatur lead.
But the Seahawks wouldn’t score another goal against Maddie George (nine saves) over the final 24:02, and played down a player in the game’s latter stages due to picking up a fourth yellow card, helping Queen Anne’s close with a 4-0 run.
“The draw in the first half, that was definitely the key to it,” Seahawks head coach Lindsay Owens said of her team’s strong first half. “We got into some trouble with fouls and yellow cards and then Queen Anne’s got some crucial draw controls on us. They were able to capitalize on those opportunities. We tried to shift it up a little bit, but again it came down to those draw controls and possessions, especially at the end.”
Less than 2 minutes after Rosemond’s goal, Ensor came straight at McDaniel and scored to draw the Lions within 7-6. Queen Anne’s won the ensuing faceoff, worked the ball around to Madison Brown, who drew another Decatur foul, setting up another Lions’ free-position chance. Starting on the left side, Brown sprinted toward the goal, attracted a crowd of defenders, shot and scored the equalizer as she was knocked to the ground with 21:16 left.
“That’s a great team, and they came out firing,” Fitzgerald said of Decatur. “They came ready to play. We did too, and it was a game of possessions.
“McDaniel made some great saves early on and they made some great plays,” Fitzgerald continued. “But we tell each other all the time, ‘We have each other’s back’ and to ‘Keep chipping way; keep winning the draw.’”
Ensor, who never came off the field the whole game, added her fourth and fifth goals over the final 14 minutes, then won the draw after putting Queen Anne’s up 9-7. The Lions had multiple opportunities to further pad their lead, but instead worked the ball around the perimeter and worked off the final 5 minutes.
“We know they are very disciplined in keeping possession versus getting the extra goal,” Owens said. “And we knew that. They’re well coached.”
Decatur took a 1-0 lead with only 1:06 off the clock when Kauffman set up Audrey Mumford’s goal. Ensor converted a Pinder feed to make it 1-1 just 44 seconds later.
But the Seahawks reeled off the next three goals, with Kauffman sanchwiching a pair of scores around Lily Carson’s goal.
Queen Anne’s began chipping. Faith Novak scored off a Crawford dish with 11:34 left in the first half. Thirty seconds later Pinder scored via an Ensor assist. Kauffman restored Decatur’s two-goal lead, but Crawford set up an Ensor goal, then scored off Pinder assist for a 5-5 tie.
North Caroline 9
RIDGELY — Reece Bisesi had four goals and one assist, and Claire Blue had a hat trick to lead the Bulldogs.
Riley Walstrum and Maddie Nicholson each had one goal for North Caroline (5-1).
Easton 14 Kent
WORTON — Nate Butler scored four goals and set up six others, and Drew Schmidt had four goals and three assists as the Warriors won their fifth straight.
Aidan Filion also scored four goals and set up a goal for Easton (5-1, 1-0). Tyler Rardin and Kyle Dyott each had one goal and Campbell Taliaferro had an assist. Goalie Jack Kilbourne made 13 saves.
Will Maier and Landon Wallace each had two goals for Kent County, and Will Speakman and Ethan Clark added one apiece.
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