GAITHERSBURG — From a close first half to a blowout second, the 12-8 win by the Gaithersburg Trojans varsity girls lacrosse team over the visiting Northwest Jaguars got them out of their rut and kept the Jaguars flustered.
A painful season-opener blowout at home, followed by two straight wins and then two straight losses (including a 11-3 annihilation by Richard Montgomery and a nail-biting 9-8 loss to Quince Orchard) had the Trojans seeking a morale booster in the game against the Jaguars.
The Northwest Jaguars still have only one win to their name, a 12-5 walloping of the Clarksburg Coyotes, and came into the game with three starting players hurt.
“We’ve got three starters out. One of them was in the first half and couldn’t make it through the second half, so I think that had a little bit to do with it,” said Northwest head coach Tara Nicholas.
As the game unfolded, the Jaguars gave no indication of their predicament. Gaithersburg junior midfielder Graysen Jahangiri made the first goal after a turnover.
The Jaguars then retaliated and dominated for most of the first half. Four Northwest goals, including two from senior midfielder Julia Brock, gave them the lead and put pressure on the Trojans to not fall behind.
Brock proved to be a defensive nightmare for Gaithersburg, as the agile Jaguars player completed her hat trick in the first half with three consecutive goals. Foul trouble kept the Trojans mostly on the defensive.
Senior defender Rachel Johnson made a shot for the Trojans to break the Jaguars’ scoring streak and get Gaithersburg back into the fray.
Northwest sophomore midfielder Maggie Palmore fired a mid-air shot off an assist from senior defender Erin Oxenford to score the fifth and last Jaguar goal of the first half.
Johnson made another goal at the ninth second to cut the lead down to two, and junior midfielder Maisie Scott dashed to the net in the remaining nine seconds to score a buzzer-beating fourth goal for Gaithersburg, to go into halftime down by only one point.
In less than two minutes after halftime, senior attacker Caroline Boyle and Scott scored one apiece to finally get the lead for the Trojans.
Gaithersburg junior attacker Sam Martinez made it seven with her goal, while junior midfielder Allie Burkinshaw scored for Northwest to cut the lead back down to only one.
The next four goals came courtesy of the Trojans, with two goals by Scott that topped off her hat trick and then some.
After a muted first-half performance, Scott became the harbinger of the Jaguars’ demise with her quick play and ability to find the gaps in their defense.
Two goals from the Jaguars were not enough to rescue them from the loss, and a last-minute goal from Scott put her at five goals from the night, one goal shy from a second hat trick.
“Tonight she’s now starting to play like we think she could. She could be a dominant player in Montgomery County,” said Gaithersburg head coach J Maloney.