Melissa Bristow scored four goals and Megan Palmer added three as Roland Park edged Notre Dame Prep, 9-8, for the Association of Independent Schools girls lacrosse championship yesterday at Park School.
The game was tied 8-8 for five minutes when Palmer scored the game-winner, shooting through three NDP defenders with 1 minute, 48 seconds left. The ball went over the shoulder of NDP goalie Meg Cortezi (11 saves), who was screened out by her defense.
Throughout the game, Roland Park (9-3-2) adjusted well to NDP's defense, using both fast breaks and a set offense to create scoring opportunities.
In the first half, the Reds controlled the draw and set off one break after another. Attack wing Bristow scored the first three Roland Park goals and assisted Neal Russell on a fourth. The Reds had a 4-2 lead with 14:20 left in the half.
NDP (8-4-2) had trouble picking up ground balls and holding onto the ball early. The Reds dominated the half with 16 shots, but they fired most of them right at Cortezi.
Cortezi worked hard for several other saves, making nine in the half.
Offensively, the Pirates struck quickly. Sharon Langhoff and Maddie Preis scored early to give NDP at 2-1 lead. After the Reds stormed back with three straight, Langhoff and Katie O'Hara added goals to tie the game at 4-4 by halftime.
In the second half, the Reds used their set offense to wear down the Pirates. Palmer, a junior, took the ball behind the goal and waited for her teammates to cut or to clear out the defense so she could roll around the crease.
Palmer passed to Russell for the Reds' first goal of the half and then scored the next two
"I like rolling around the crease," said Palmer, who scored eight goals in the Reds' 10-8 overtime victory over Bryn Mawr in the AIS semifinals.
"If I'm patient and I hang my crosse a little, a lot of times they'll go for the check and I get an opening. If I wait, they get antsy, because they don't know when you're going to go and that can make them make a mistake."
However, every time the Reds moved ahead, the Pirates answered. With 9:49 to go, Langhoff tied the game at 7-7.
The Reds got a stellar play from Jeanne Lekin, who checked her girl, stole the ball and ran down to feed Bristow for the tying goal with 7:10 left.
After Palmer gave the Reds the lead, Roland Park goalie Kathy Kwiterovich preserved the win with a point-blank save on Clare Toro's shot. Kwiterovich finished with seven saves.