“It is intimidating,” DeMascio, making her first varsity start, said. “I knew we’d lost last year (to Mt. View, Thursday’s oppnent), and I wanted to come back and prove we were the better team.”

DeMascio stared down a flurry of activity late in the game and made what could be a candidate for save of the year with fewer than 60 seconds to play to preserve for the Hornets a 3-2 opening-day win over the Mustangs.

“That was an awesome save,” Leavitt coach Wanda Ward-McLean said. “That was like the save in the state game when this senior group were freshmen when Sierra (Santomango) went down and made that save. That was just a really good save.”

“It just comes in the moment,” DeMascio said. “I wasn’t thinking, I was just playing. But I definitely didn’t want to let in the ball with a minute left.”

Solid thoughts from a rookie, for sure, some of which she developed in the offseason and during the preseason.

“We knew she had the ability,” Ward-McLean said, “but she didn’t have the confidence and she needed to step her game up a little bit. She really worked hard this preseason. And with Kristin (Schrepper, the team’s goalie coach) here, and our freshman goalie has really pushed her, too. There wasn’t a lot of difference between the two, ability-wise, to start the season. All of a sudden she developed that confidence that, ‘I’m going to be the goalie, it’s my turn.'”

“I worked a lot harder this year, I wanted it so much more and I wanted to prove that this is my year, and our year to go to states.”

The Hornets took their first step toward that end Thursday. Three different players — Allie Bellaire, Kaitlyn Leclerc and Ashley Mathieu — rattled goals into the cage for Leavitt in the win, two of them coming off of set play.

“We changed up our corners a bit,” Ward-McLean said, “and that seems to have worked.”

Despite playing what Ward-McLean was a lackluster first half, the Hornets went to the break with a 1-0 lead on Bellaire’s tally, a one-timer on a feed from Sam Harden.

The Mustangs tried to rally — and did briefly — but DeMascio and the defense stood strong.

“There’s a window of time after someone scores where you have a lot of adrenaline,” Hewett said. “It’s usually a three-minute window where, if you get it back right away, it evens things up. But the half can be the reverse.”

The half benefited the Mustangs, though. They scored their lone goal 5:24 into the second frame on a penalty corner when Reanna Boulay powered the ball home.

But Leavitt replied quickly, using precision passing to retake the lead with 19:55 remaining.

“When we move the ball, instead of trying to do too much dribbling on our own, we’re fine,” Ward-McLean said. “We’re a good passing team — when we pass. Sometimes we hang onto the ball a little too long. Once we started passing the ball, we moved that ball right down, boom boom boom, had the open girl by the goalie and scored.”

The open player in this case was Leclerc.

Mathieu added a necessary insurance goal four minutes later after a long hit set in motion by Kierstin Leclerc.

The Mustangs rallied for their second on a broken play.

“We got really tired there for a second, and we got really lazy and didn’t get back on defense, and then Hailey overcommitted and gave up that big angle. She’s young, she’ll make a mistake or two.”

In the game’s final minute, though, when it mattered, DeMascio was mistake-free.

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