"Lots of people say summer lacrosse doesn't mean a whole lot, but believe me, it sure does."
Judging from yesterday's down-to-the-wireaction at Anne Arundel Community College, victorious coach Keith Vogel spoke for everyone involved in the five championship contests.
Vogel's men's open Gold team clawed its way back from an 8-5 third-quarter deficit to edge Grey, 12-10, in a matchup of two talent-laden squads of former college and high school standouts.
Steve Morhol, formerly of South River and currently attending University of Maryland Baltimore County, notched the game-winner with a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, flipping in a short-range shot past goalkeeper Chip Robertson. Less than a half-minute later, Steve Phipps tackedon an insurance goal.
"That garbage goal that Steve put in made me feel a whole lot better," said an ecstatic Vogel.
"I just happened to be in the right place at the right time," said Phipps, who led all scorers with four goals.
Midway through the third stanza, TeamGrey (6-3) seemed to have its opponents in a funk. Following a game-tying goal by the Gold's Tom Worstell, a two-time All-American at Maryland during the late 1980s, Sean Crawford, Keith Fleming, and Che Tran chipped in a goalapiece within a four-minute span.
Ex-Severn star and current University of North Carolina sophomore Ryan Wade (1990Anne Arundel County Sun Player of the Year) put an end to the stringwith one of two goals of the afternoon with less than 30 seconds remaining in the period, cranking a left-handed shot past goalie Peter Nyland.
Lance Savage led the losers with three goals, followed by Crawford and R. J. Holthaus of Auburn University, who chipped in with two each.
Team Maroon needed three overtimes to down Blue, 7-6, for the boys high school division title. Jeff Smollon's winning shot inadvertently ricocheted off a Blue defender on its way into the net with just 2:40 left in third extra period.
Reed Smith of St. Mary's and Kyle Johnson of Virginia's Landon Prep School led the winning side with two goals each, while Steve Brusso of Broadneck and Steve Spence of Severna Park each turned in three goals in a losing cause.
In the Junior boys game, Green (7-2-1) upended Orange (7-2), 7-5, as Eric Motschiedler scored the game-winner -- the last of his team-leading two goals -- with three minutes left in overtime. Teammate and fellow Baltimore countian Chris Lamonia netted an insurance goal with 20seconds left.
"We've improved a great deal since the beginning ofthe year," said Green coach Glenn Lentz. "We were 0-1-1 after our first two games. Then, all of a sudden, we started playing well together as a team. I think after those first two games, we started doing all of the little things right, like playing good defense, working the ball around on offense, and things like that.
Tammi Bird, Cory Harmon, and Leann Shuck, a former University of Maryland player, fired in three goals each to pace White to a 12-10 triumph over Navy in the women's open championship.
Erin Wylde of Severna Park and MeredithKennedy contributed two and one goals respectively. White goalkeeperShannon Fitzgibbons repelled seven shots-on-goal, while Navy keeper Heather Strifler turned back six. Chris Hanna and Erica Mawhorr tossed in three goals each to lead the Blue contingent, while Betsy Given of Broadneck and Loyola College added two.
In yet another overtimeaffair, Stephy Samaras' six-goal barrage, which included two in overtime, enabled Purple to escape with an 8-7 win over White. Laura Zimmerman and Karen Diacont each had a goal.
Amy Brew led the White squad with four goals, while Caitlin Moheiser, Anastasia Pantelides, and Kate Bower each found the back of the net once. Losing net minder Emily Sternberg turned in a creditable performance with a game-high 14saves.
While Hero's boys program is in its third decade, the girls inauguralseason, despite a shortage of players, turned out to be a success for girls coordinator Cathy Samaras.
"The great thing about our league was that everyone made the playoffs because we didn't keep any standings. It kept things loose throughout the summer, and it gave everyone a chance to play.