Field hockey Marriotts Ridge scores six unanswered goals in 7-1 win over Howard in season opener – Baltimore Sun
Tied midway through the second period, Marriotts Ridge senior forward Natalie Freeman snaked around several defenders at the top of the circle.
Splitting up, Freeman fired the shot past Howard goaltender Allayna Martone for the Mustangs’ second goal of the night. It started a six-goal unanswered streak from Mustang in their season-opening 7-1 win over Howard.
Several of Marriotts Ridge’s goals were created on penalty corners, as Freeman operated effectively at the top of the circle. Penn State’s engagement finished with two goals and three assists to lead the Mustangs offense.
“We have a lot of people creating a lot of movement,” Marriotts Ridge coach Molly Milani said. “We have 11 seniors. Our entire starting lineup, minus one, is made up of senior executives. Obviously, Natalie is creating a lot of offensive forward momentum. When she releases her hands one inch in the circle, she can put it on the cage.
“Even just the awareness of the game, she sees the pitch and can really find the openings to create space for others, which I think is huge in this game. They were looking to tag her pretty early on, but the more important was to use our outlets and find the free space to find these passes.
The Mustangs struggled to convert chances for much of the first quarter. Senior Camryn Fisher’s goal just before the end of the quarter helped ignite the Marriotts Ridge offense.
Howard’s offense was successful early in the second quarter. Rookie Samantha Legge scored the first goal of her college career, tying the score at 1.
“She didn’t play shy,” Howard’s coach Courtney Sprissler said of Legge’s performance. “We played against a strong team and being a freshman, there can be a lot of bullying out there playing Marriotts Ridge. She didn’t let any of this go to her head. She was just solid and did what she had to do.
Howard’s momentum was short-lived as Freeman responded less than a minute later. The Mustangs pushed their lead to two on a penalty corner as Sophia Baxter scored the far post on a pass from Freeman.
Marriotts Ridge extended their lead on the third. Baxter scored his second from a difficult angle, pushing the lead to 4-1.
“I was dribbling the ball baseline,” Baxter said. “When you see the keeper over-committing because most goalkeepers think you’re going to send him off or take him on the kick, as soon as he walks you have to see the low angle and hit him. ”
Ninety seconds later, the Mustangs offense converted another corner. Fisher scored his second goal of the night on a rebound as the ball slipped between Martone’s legs on Freeman’s first shot.
Marriotts Ridge continued to pick up the pace in the fourth quarter. Addy Obitz and Freeman added goals during the frame creating prime opportunities in net.
While the Mustangs’ offense was successful, the defense remained stifling. Howard was held scoreless in the 39:19 final, as Marriotts Ridge’s aggressive defensive style disrupted the Lions’ timing offensively.
“We talked about it all day,” Freeman said of Game 1. “Since the start of pre-season, we’ve said, ‘We’re so excited to start the season. This season is especially exciting because last season we went through all of our scouting stuff. This year is our last year with the majority of our starting lineup being seniors. We all just want to win, we all want a state title.