When trailing 6-1 at halftime, many teams may concede defeat, only willing to go through the motions of the game in the second half in the face of a near-insurmountable five-goal deficit. The George Mason Lady Mustang lacrosse team isn’t one of those teams.
The Lady Mustangs, led by Coach Megan Coulter, came out inspired and firing in the second half against a strong team from Dominion High School Tuesday night. They reduced the Titans’ lead to one goal on three separate occasions, but ultimately could claw no closer, falling at home, 11-9.
The Mustangs outscored the Titans 8-5 in the second half.
“If we played the way we played in the second half throughout the whole game, the game is ours,” Coulter told her team in a huddle after the game.
Freshman midfielder Abby Johansen led the Mustang charge, personally taking over the game and scoring six of the nine Mustang goals on the night. Junior midfielder Sally Blakemore scored twice and sophomore attacker Taylor Bottock added a goal of her own.
The Lady Mustangs were hoping to build on their 3-0 record on Tuesday night, but the fired-up play of the Titans in the first half made that nearly impossible. The Titans scored most of their goals thanks to their quick transitions, which left the Lady Mustangs struggling to slow the ball down and establish a defensive presence.
However, Coulter changed up the Mustang game plan at the half, emphasizing slowing the game down, especially in the midfield.
“In the second half, the girls started working together as a team. They cut down on the transitions and played much tighter midfield defense,” Coulter said after the game.
The Lady Mustangs began working the ball behind the goal in the second half, relying on pinpoint passes to attack the zone directly in front of the goal for some easy scores against the otherwise tight Dominion defense. They began controlling the clock by working the ball around the perimeter, but ultimately ran out of time on their comeback bid after Johansen’s sixth goal narrowed the Dominion lead to 10-9 with 3:49 left. After Dominion forced a turnover, they began working the clock, ultimately scoring when Mason had to bring more defensive pressure with about 75 seconds left in the game.
Coulter hopes to conjure the same second-half intensity from the Mustangs for the rest of what promises to be a busy week.
The girls traveled to Loudoun County on Wednesday in a make-up game from last week, though results were not available at press time. The Mustangs head to Heritage today (Thursday) for a 6 p.m. game.