Five players, including four underclassmen, scored goals to lead No. 3 Roland Park to its second straight Association of Independent Schools lacrosse championship with a 10-8 victory over No. 6 Seton Keough yesterday at Park School.
Sophomore Brent McAllister scored the game-winner off a 20-yard pass from Melissa Cully with 5:25 left in the game. Cully, another sophomore, placed the ball right in McAllister's crosse for a perfectly timed quick stick goal.
McAllister scored two goals, as did senior Melissa Bristow, sophomores Catherine Passano and Peggy Boutilier and freshman Elizabeth Rodgers. The Reds also got strong defensive performances from Cully, Boutilier and senior cover point Jeanne Lekin.
"We are a team and we play 100 percent like a team," said coach Wendy Kridel. "We're not two or three stars out there who do everything. We are 12 players who can do it. If one player is in trouble, there are a lot of others out there to help her. I think that's why we won -- everybody played well together."
The Reds (14-0) have won 19 straight. But they had to come from behind against a tight, double-teaming Seton Keough defense to keep their winning streak intact.
Draw control and outstanding midfield play late in the game pulled the Reds back from an 8-7 deficit with six minutes left.
Defense wing Boutilier moved to center to win three of the last four draws, setting the Reds offense in motion. McAllister followed up her game-winner with a backhand that surprised Gators goalie Becky Brauns.
The Reds, who relied on their set offense most of the year, scored just about every goal off transition yesterday.
"When you play a team like Seton Keough, they pressure us behind the goal a little more," said senior playmaker Megan Palmer. "We go down thinking about setting something up, but if they give us the fast break and their defense pulls off low, we go with that."
Even in the first half, the Reds had to come from behind. Seton Keough started out strong with a patient offense. Helen Marie Meiser, who led the Gators with five goals, and Erin Welsh opened the game with back-to-back goals, each assisted by the other.
Kridel called a timeout to settle her team. When they opened up their offense and stopped trying to force passes from behind the goal, the Reds started to come back. They scored the next five goals, including four in a four-minute period.