ELKTON — It took barely over a minute for Elkton freshman Lexi Bunk to score the game’s first goal, flipping in a backhanded shot on a dodge from behind the cage.
The goal was the first of six she would score on the night and jumpstarted an early onslaught that powered the Golden Elks to a 16-9 win over visiting North East in the first round of the 2A East Region Section I Girls’ Lacrosse Tournament.
Sophomore Stef Matsen scored only 52 seconds later. Bunk tallied again 28 seconds after that.
Less than nine minutes into the contest, Elkton was out to a 7-2 lead.
“Draw controls were the big, key thing. We were winning the draw controls and we just had the fight and the fire to win,” Elks coach Natalie Crenshaw said of the fast start. “Draw controls, we were doing well on the ground balls, our passing were connecting, and we were obviously scoring.”
Elkton took a 10-4 into halftime, but the Indians were a different team following the intermission. A 3-0 run – the first two goals from Grace Buegel and third by Kiley Day – brought North East within three, 12-9, with 10:10 remaining.
It was deja vu for Crenshaw. When the teams last met on April 11, Buegel scored three consecutive goals early in the second half that put the Elks in an 8-6 deficit.
“This is the third time we’ve seen North East this season, and the two other times we’ve played them we had this lull in some part of the game,” Crenshaw said. “The last time we played them, the entire first half was a lull and then we picked it up late in the second half.”
Bunk scored the game’s next three goals and Elkton finished the night on a 4-0 run.
Matsen, Kristina Keithley and Sadie Marra all recorded hat tricks for the Elks while Ciara Hopkins added the remaining goal.
Buegel led the Indians with three goals and Day scored twice. Abby Scheffler, Alyssa Mooney, Natalie Roten and Kyalla Barrett each added a goal.
Elkton advances to face another familiar opponent Friday in top-seeded Rising Sun. The Elks suffered a 10-9 loss to the Tigers on April 25.
“Against Rising Sun, draw controls are going to be huge,” Crenshaw said. “And shot placement. When we played Rising Sun two weeks ago, we shot at the goalie. We hit her and made her look amazing, we didn’t place our shots.”
Bunk, only a freshman, is aware how badly her elder teammates want to keep advancing through the postseason after a disappointing season a year ago. Their mantra for the season reflects perfectly for Friday as the Elks try to avenge a heartbreaking one-goal loss.
“We’re really excited,” Bunk said. “Redemption is our word this season. That’s what we’re going for on Friday – redemption.”
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig