Marriotts Ridge field hockey goalie Grace Tolle isn’t sure whether she realized it was unexpected passing.
After the Mustangs finished guideline, first and second additional time and the penalty shootout tied with No. 1 Hereford in the MPSSAA Class 2A semifinals, Tolle said she was just centered around two things — the ball, and an excursion to the state championship.
Emma Gladstein scored for No. 5 Marriotts Ridge to begin the unexpected passing shootout, and Tolle halted the Bulls’ aggressor to give Marriotts Ridge the 2-1 triumph and send the Mustangs to the state title.
“(The officials) said it was sudden death, but in the moment I was just focused on stopping the ball. I just knew I needed to stop it,” Tolle said. “Making it this far was better than we could’ve ever imagined. This is an amazing feeling.”
“After she stopped it, she didn’t make a lot of emotion,” said Marriotts Ridge lead trainer Stacie Gado. “In my head, I said, ‘Grace doesn’t know we just won the game,’ because she wasn’t on the side with us when we were clarifying that it was sudden death. … Grace is an all-around competitor. I don’t need to say much to her. She has enough athletic skill and experience that I don’t want to over coach her.”
The last time Marriotts Ridge made the state championship game was 2015, when the Mustangs lost to Hereford. They’ll take on No. 3 Oakdale (13-3) for the crown at Washington College in Chestertown on Saturday.
“To come out and play them again and beat them means a lot,” Gado said. “These girls weren’t on the team, but some of their older sisters played. It is, for me, very exciting.”
Gado said sending Gladstein, a senior commander, up for the principal abrupt capital punishment shot was an easy decision. Gladstein drives Marriotts Ridge with 13 objectives this season and made her endeavor in the principal shootout, which finished in a 2-2 tie.
“Emma has been waiting for this moment since her freshman year,” Gado said. “Her stick skills are phenomenal.”
Neither one of the teams scored in the principal half of the game at Broadneck High School in Annapolis. The cool, blustery night prompted messy play from the two teams.
Marriotts Ridge (11-3-1) brought first blood 10 minutes into the second half when Kayla Brusco avoided a switch chip by Gladstein into the enclosure to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
Hereford (12-3) replied back with 8:39 staying on an objective from junior Molly Daw. The equalizer sent the game to extra time, and in spite of the two teams drawing numerous corners, neither one of the squads could locate the back of the cage.
Gladstein and freshman Sophia Baxter scored for Marriotts Ridge in the main shootout to give Marriotts Ridge a 2-0 lead with just two Hereford endeavors left. Chloe Parker and Sydney Powell both scored, however, and Hereford goalie Sara Hallameyer prevented two Mustangs from scoring to send the game to unexpected demise.
The Mustangs’ state title game against Oakdale will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Washington College.
“I was crying. I was so happy,” Gladstein said. “This has always been my dream to go to states, and now it’s finally happening.”