The No. 1 Glenelg field hockey team sent a message to the rest of the area at Saturday's South River Invitational.
They plan to improve on the 19-1 record they posted in winning the Class 2A state championship last year, and perfection may very well be in their future.
With Alyssa Parker scoring five goals and adding three assists, Glenelg rolled to a 6-0 victory over Holy Cross in the first round and followed that with a 4-0 victory over No. 5 Bryn Mawr to win the tournament for the first time.
"We didn't expect this kind of a result," said Parker, a senior midfielder who has a chance of becoming only the second player nationally to finish her high school career with 100 goals and 100 assists. "Everyone was nervous because we hadn't had practice in a week, we were missing [two players in the first game who were taking the ACT test in Frederick] and it was our first game of the year. And, we were playing a good team. We were very surprised with how well we clicked and connected.
"It feels pretty good to start 2-0. Our loss here last year was our only one. I'm proud of my teammates."
Bryn Mawr, which beat Interscholastic Association of Maryland A Conference rival Roland Park, 2-1, Friday, reached the final with a shootout victory over No. 6 South River (2-1). The sides played to an 0-0 tie through overtime. Caroline Joy scored what turned out to be the deciding goal when Bryn Mawr goalie Claire Edelman (9 saves) made a save on South River's fifth penalty attempt.
Bryn Mawr coach Jeanette Budzik said she "couldn't have asked for more" from her team.
"We beat our rival Roland Park Friday night, we won an exciting, intense game against South River, and we played Glenelg even through most of the first half," she said. "Overall, I thought we had outstanding play."
As well as they played, Glenelg was a step faster and sharper throughout the day. The Gladiators never stopped chasing loose balls and showed a determined aggressiveness on every restart. Wherever an opponent turned, it seemed a Glenelg player was in her face and when they did break through, goalie Amanda Hoyt (15 total saves in two games) was there to stop them.
"I was worried about our not having practice for a week," Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid said. "I had them practicing stick skills in the hallway at school, trying to get ready. They said, 'Relax, we've got it covered.' They don't lack confidence, and I was pleased to see Amy Frazier, Maribeth Blonchek and Kendall Lutts, who were stepping in for players who graduated, step up in the backfield and play great."
South River won the consolation game, 5-0, over Holy Cross, with Abbey Lawrence scoring twice.