After winning a third consecutive 4A/3A West Region championship, the Churchill girls’ lacrosse team once again fell short in the state semifinals. This time, however, a more competitive contest gave the Bulldogs reason to believe they’re improving.
Churchill lost to 4A/3A North champion Westminster, 18-8, on May 19 at Franklin High School in Reisterstown. In 2010, the Bulldogs lost to C. Milton Wright 22-2 in the state semis. Last season, Churchill was on the wrong end of a 20-3 outcome against Severna Park. This year, the Bulldogs trailed 11-5 at halftime and 15-7 with 11:36 remaining against the Owls from Carroll County.
"I think that we’re chipping away little by little each time we come here," Churchill head coach Christen Gjeldum said. "[Westminster is] a really good team. I think that we could have stepped it up more, definitely. I think that we gave away some balls that we probably shouldn’t have, but overall, I was proud of the way they handled themselves and adjusted to this speed."
Standout senior midfielder Marin Hall ended her Churchill career with a team-high four goals. Hall, who will play lacrosse at Bucknell next season, scored the Bulldogs’ first three goals, helping to keep them in the game.
"I think that we really learned to hang with teams like this," Hall said. "This is a huge confidence booster having such a close game."
Senior attacker Maddy Flax, who will play at Wesleyan next season, scored two goals.
"I think once we got the jitters out the first five minutes, it was easier for us," Flax said. "When we settled it down, we did a great job moving it around."
Junior midfielder Emily Muscarella and freshman midfielder Rachel Thai-Larsen each scored one goal.
On May 16, Churchill went on the road to defeat Sherwood, 20-19, and capture the region title. The Bulldogs have played in four consecutive region finals, winning the last three.
Senior goalkeeper Alex Fox said getting involved with lacrosse at a younger age could help Montgomery County athletes become more competitive with the rest of the state.
"I think that [Montgomery County] girls, if they start earlier, will be able to compete on a higher level with these girls in the near future," she said, "… [W]e were closer than we’ve been in the last two years. I think even next year, if we make it here again, we could have an even better chance."