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Lady Jags Down Clarksburg to Advance in Playoffs

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Just fourteen minutes and two seconds into Wednesday’s first round of the girls lacrosse playoff between Northwest and Clarksburg, with the game tied 3-3, all play came to a halt as the skies over Germantown shook with thunder and flashed with lightning.

The teams left the field and waited patiently in the hallway of Northwest High School for over 90 minutes as the storms passed through area. At one point, both teams were told to get ready to go back to the field, only to have another bolt of lightning and accompanying thunder delay the game for another 30 minutes as per MCPS weather safety rules.

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Northwest Head Coach Holly Johnson was worried about how the layover would affect her team’s performance once play resumed. “I thought it was going to be a distraction,” she said. “They were goofing off in the building so I had them sit down and concentrate.”

It worked in a big way, the Lady Jags would come out of the break and score five unanswered goals in the first six minutes after play resumed and go on to win 11-6.

“That really worked to our favor,” said Johnson. “I think they came out and they played really hard. They came out after the break and played better than when they started.”

Northwest went 5-7 in the regular season, which earned them a home game in the first round versus 3-10 Clarksburg.

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The Lady Jags made the most of their opportunity out hustling the Coyotes to 12 more ground balls in the game. The Jags ran down and controlled 24 loose balls to Clarksburg’s 12.

Senior midfielder Katie Kim had stand-out performance controlling traffic in the midfield and scoring five goals in the victory. Johnson called Kim, “an all-around great player,” when asked about her five goal performance.

But, the Coyotes weren’t done. Led by some nifty goaltending from junior Taylor Vanzego, who stopped a barrage of Jag’s shots. She was credited with 14 saves in the game.

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Clarksburg was able stop the Northwest goal scoring frenzy and put some points on the board. Clarksburg got two goals each from senior attacker Jenn Lam and junior attack Lola Collins. Clarksburg pulled to within two points with 7:31 seconds remaining in the game.

While the Clarksburg goalie kept the Coyotes in the game, Northwest’s stopper, junior Olivia Vieira had moments of her own, making six big saves and earning praise from her coach after the game. “Our goalie had a great performance tonight, this is only her second year playing goal. She has been doing really well for us,” said Coach Johnson.

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The Jags had three players with multiple goals on Wednesday, senior Katie Kim’s five, junior Kelly Miller added three goals, and junior middie Katie Palmiere had two tallies. Freshman Julia Brock added one more.

The win earns the ladies a trip to play Gaithersburg in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday. Gaithersburg with the best record in the county at 12-1 will be a true test for the Lady Jags. The ladies from Northwest lost to the Trojans 13-3 back on April 13.


Top: Northwest’s junior Brooke Wallmark (26) is defended by Clarksburg’s Stephanie Kim (16) as she moves the ball deep in Clarksburg territory on Wednesday night.

Next: Northwest senior Katie Kim (18) dodges around Clarksburg’s Sarah Lass (10) for a clean shot on goal. Kim had five goals in Northwest’s victory.

Next: Northwest junior Katie Palmiere (7) drives to the goal. She would finish with two goals.

Next: The Jags Kelly Miller gets checked by Clarksburg’s Sarah Lass. Miller would have three goals in Wednesday’s game.

Next: Northwest goalkeeper Olivia Vieira (25) and Ashley Kim (4) defend the pass from behind her goal by Clarksburg’s Meghan Rusnak (4).

Photos by Germantown Pulse.

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