ROCKVILLE — The Wootton Patriots varsity girls lacrosse team overcame a slow second half start at home Friday and rallied behind midfielder Raeann Carpenter to defeat the visiting Northwest Jaguars, 8-7. With just three minutes left in the game, Carpenter’s tie-breaking goal ended up being the game-winner and her third score of the evening.
The Patriots (2-3) scored first and led most of the game, bolstered by senior goalie Andie Stave. The University of Colorado commit finished the bout with 14 saves, 10 of them in the first half.
Northwest senior midfielder Julia Brock was instrumental in her team’s comeback. Brock’s first-half hat trick robbed Wootton of its comfortable lead and knotted the score at 6-6 heading into the half.
In fact, the Jaguars (1-4) were one Stave save away from leading at the half when Brock burst through the Wootton defenders and tried her luck at a game-high fourth goal. Stave fell to her knees and blocked the scoring attempt.
Northwest sophomore Maggie Palmore opened the second half with a goal that gave the Jaguars their only lead of the evening. However, an injury to junior Courtney Lynch halted gameplay for several minutes and took the wind out of Northwest’s sails.
“When Courtney got hurt, that definitely threw us all off. The energy on the field definitely went down after that happened,” said Northwest junior Ali Rosenberg. “All of us were just in shock and we still are. Overall I thought we did pretty well, considering what happened.”
Patriots senior midfielder Jenna Traub broke Wootton’s 15-minute, second-half scoreless streak when she fired a shot past Jaguars junior goalie Katherine Jones.
Both teams tightened up their defense and ramped up their aggression as seconds ticked off the clock. Players were going to the ground during plays and it appeared as though the game was going to extend to an overtime period.
However, Carpenter’s timely third goal and Wootton’s defense ensured the game wouldn’t extend to overtime. The Patriots passed back and forth to each other and kept the ball away from the Jaguars in the closing minutes. When a Northwest player managed to seize the ball and take off running down the field, the buzzer announced the end of the game.
Patriots head coach Casey Fletcher said that containing Brock in the second half was the key to Wootton’s victory.
“[Brock] is a strong player; she had three of their seven goals. We stuck on her in the second half to try and eliminate her,” said Fletcher. “We worked together and this was a huge team win for us tonight.”
The Patriots will have a couple of days to prepare before traveling to Clarksburg on Monday, while Northwest is set to play Gaithersburg.