After 1-goal loss in regular-season finale, Trojans to travel for playoffs

WORTON — “You gotta keep fighting. You never know what could happen,” Kent County High School girls lacrosse coach Jessie Bonass told her players as she walked away from the huddle at the end of practice Tuesday. 

Then she added, “You do know what happens if you stop fighting.”

Bonass was setting the tone for the Class 1A East Region II tournament, which sends KCHS (2-10) to top seed Southern-Anne Arundel (4-8) on Thursday, May 9 for second-round action. 

Because there are only four schools in the region, everyone received a first-round bye.

Southern, which plays a mostly Anne Arundel County schedule against larger schools, is coming off a 16-1 loss to Class 4A Broadneck.

KCHS wrapped up its regular season on Friday, May 3 with a 12-11 loss at Cambridge-South Dorchester.

Bonass said this was the Trojans’ best effort to date in terms of grit and hustle and pulling together as a team.

Cambridge scored the first four goals and led 5-1 at the end of the first quarter, before Kent County started to find its game.

By halftime, with second-quarter goals from sophomore Mary Jane Joiner and freshman Jane Cleary, Kent County had trimmed the deficit to 8-5.

Cleary and classmate Eliza Loller (from Gillian Bonass) found the back of the net to open the second-half scoring as the Trojans continued to make up ground.

Heading into the final frame, Cambridge held a tenuous 9-7 lead.

The host Vikings extended the spread to 10-7 with 9 minutes, 14 seconds remaining before the Trojans engineered a 4-1 run that leveled the score at 11-all on Loller’s unassisted goal with 5:10 to play. 

Cambridge scored what held up to be the winning goal with 1:11 remaining, after Kent County failed to convert on an 8-meter shot on the previous possession.

While the loss was heartbreaking, coach Bonass had nothing but praise for her team.

“It was a heckuva game,” she said, emphasizing the refuse-to-give-in attitude of her players.

“I didn’t have a voice on Saturday (May 4, the day after the game) from cheering so loudly,” the coach said.

Joiner finished with a season high of six points on five goals and one assist.

Cleary matched her career best of seven points with three goals and four assists.

Loller netted her first career hat trick.

At the other end of the field, the standout players were sophomore Savanna Reynolds, who plays low defense, and sophomore Hailey Myers, a midfielder who is a two-way threat. Myers was named the team MVP for the game.

Senior Emma Morris, who went the distance in between the pipes, saw the ball better as the game went on and gave up only four goals in the second half.

Also noteworthy: Loller, Joiner, Myers, Bonass, Drew Davis and Addisyn Litton each had at least five ground balls; Bonass caused five turnovers and Cleary caused four; and Joiner and Carly King each won three draw controls.

Coach Bonass said the Trojans have steadily improved over the last couple of games and are riding positive momentum into the playoffs.

The winner of the Southern-Kent game will face the winner of Thursday’s other region semifinal, which sends Cambridge (2-8) to Bohemia Manor (3-8).

Kent County defeated Bo Manor, 14-8, in the season opener for both schools.

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