For the Annapolis girls lacrosse team, yesterday's game against Archbishop Spalding was like a pipe dream.
Every shot the Panthers took seemed to hit the pipe.
"It was like there was a magnet in there," said Annapolis assistant coach Dave Gehrdes. "We must have hit it 12 times that game. I can't believe it. Our shot selection was good, it's just that our placement was a little bit off."
It wasn't too far off. The Panthers led from start to finish in defeating the Cavaliers, 15-7, in the rain at Archbishop Spalding.
Sophomore attacker Cristi Samaras continued her scoring spree with five goals, giving her a county-high 56 for the season. Teammate Shannon Cordell also had five goals, as Annapolis improved to 9-3 overall.
Samaras struck the pipe three times before scoring her first goal midway through the opening half. By then, Cordell already had converted four times and the Panthers were ahead, 6-1.
"Usually, I try to look for the open spot and put it right there," Samaras said. "I guess I was just hitting the pipe wrong. My shots are usually close to the outside, and I was totally off today. I wasn't getting good angles. I was forcing my shots at the wrong time."
She did enough, along with her teammates, to hand Spalding its ninth loss in 15 games.
"Annapolis definitely was the stronger team," said Cavaliers coach Mary Pat Bozel. "They had a lot more skill than we did."
Bozel said her players are experiencing "the typical Spalding doldrums," with only two games left and no postseason.
"It's really hard to get the kids motivated," she said.
Annapolis built an 8-1 lead before the Cavaliers, with Gehrdes going to his bench, scored twice to close the half. They eventually reduced the lead to 11-7 with 9 minutes left in the game, and only a couple of clutch saves from Annapolis back-up goalie Kate Brew kept Spalding from getting closer.
Brew, a sophomore, replaced starter Carrie Lewis after halftime and made five saves. Spalding junior keeper Angie Frazetti stopped 19 shots, giving her 156 saves this spring.
A Panthers defense that allows an average of seven goals a game clamped down on Spalding senior Marie Jamison, who entered the contest with 46 goals and 22 assists. Jamison finished with three goals, including one after halftime.
"Emily Chones played a real strong game, Cory Samaras did a real nice job, and Inga Fredland and Kristin Chiari both played well. And both goalies made some nice saves," Gehrdes said.
"Defense is a big part of this team."
And so is scoring, of course. Jesse Kerr had two goals and Lauren Feinstein, Ali Naditch and Cory Harmon had one each, as the Panthers reached double figures for the eighth time this season.
"Everybody got to play today, so it was a good game in that sense," said Gehrdes, the acting head coach while Sue Chittim is on maternity leave. "And our scoring was well-distributed. I know they're happy about that, and so am I."
The Panthers missed on their first 11 shots before Cordell scored with 16:42 remaining in the opening half. Kerr followed with a scoop shot past Frazetti, and Cordell raced past Spalding defender Emily Matt to score with 15:13 left.
Jamison controlled the ensuing draw, raced downfield and beat Lewis (four saves) to leave the Cavaliers trailing, 3-1, but Annapolis reeled off the next five goals to break open the game.
Jen Davis, Alice Matos, Katie O'Brien and Megan O'Brien each had one goal for Spalding, which was out-shot, 43-21.