Loch Raven gains a winning air Girls lacrosse

April 09, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Loch Raven's girls lacrosse team never had been happier just to play a game.

Since practice began six weeks ago, the No. 4 Raiders have been able to practice outdoors only twice on their rain-soaked field. There were no scrimmages, no games -- until yesterday.

Yet despite the delays, the Raiders got off to a quick start, winning their first two games in less than Girls lacrosse

three hours. After a 16-3 victory over St. Albans from England, the Raiders beat Dulaney, 15-5, in the first Loch Raven Holiday Invitational.

Coach Wendy Galinn and the Raiders did not expect the wins to come that easily -- especially against St. Albans, a team from north of London that already had played 58 games this year and had lost just six. But the Raiders took command quickly, rolling to an 8-1 halftime lead on the strength of their speed, passing game and double-teaming defense.

"Their moves were just so fast -- moving the ball and running so well. Our defense was torn apart," said St. Albans coach Ali Hope.

The impressive wins helped the Raiders distance themselves from their previous game, an upset loss to No. 1 Mount Hebron in the Class 2A-1A state championship last spring.

"When I think about it, I still can't stand it," said Michele DeJuliis, The Baltimore Sun's 1992 Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year. "Sometimes when I see it in the paper I get upset because I didn't want to lose. I don't think of us as a losing team."

That loss gave the Raiders more publicity than any of the 69 straight wins leading to it. Now, they're turning that loss into something positive, hoping to use the motivation to reclaim the state title they had won in 1990 and 1991. "We've lost, and we don't have that hanging over our heads anymore. Now we just have to get on with it. And I think we have an incredible chance to go all the way this year," senior playmaker Shelley Klaes said.

Yesterday's display only reinforced Galinn's contention that this may be the strongest team she has coached in six years at Loch Raven. In past years, Galinn has had to rebuild either the offense or the defense completely; this year, she returns strength all over the field.

She has four Division I-caliber seniors, including three who already have accepted scholarships -- DeJuliis (Penn State), Klaes (James Madison) and Robyn Disney (Loyola). The fourth, defender Christina Bhanos, plans to play volleyball in college.

Beyond that, however, Galinn has a host of stars-in-waiting among 13 juniors and sophomores.

Lauren Volk, Kim Allen and Robyn Harry start at midfield, but the competition is intense for some other positions. Liz Wah or Misty Doonis could go on attack while Amber Marcum, Heather Kormanik, Kristi Lavardera or Alison Jones could start in the midfield. Defensively, seniors Krisi Murakoshi or Stephanie Compton could get the last spot. In goal, senior Christina Bontempo and sophomore Bettina Guevara probably will split time.

Those who don't start will play often, as will reserves Mary Edwards, Anne Heine and Alison Wagner.

"I don't believe I've ever had such a strong bench," Galinn said. "I'm having a difficult time determining a starting lineup because there's such a fine line dividing this player from that player. But that's good because it makes everybody work harder."

The Raiders say they face some of their toughest competition in practice. Pitting DeJuliis against Disney and Klaes against Bhanos makes strong players even better.

"I'm having to work twice as hard as I've ever had to work just to get open, and that will help us against the tougher teams," said Klaes, who had an area-high 91 assists last season.

The defenders face a similar challenge.

"Our attack is real fast and their passes are real direct," Bhanos said. "That makes us mark really, really tight. It makes us stay on our players."

Everyone on the team plays good body-position defense to force turnovers in the midfield and on the offensive end that help the attack dominate most games.

It's no secret that the Raiders' primary goal is to avenge last year's loss in the state title game, especially since Mount Hebron will move up to Class 4A-3A next year.

As much as they work on their physical game, the Raiders also work on their mental game, because that's what broke down against Mount Hebron.

"It's an attitude, and we've talked about that as a team," Galinn said. "Last year before the [Mount Hebron] game, I didn't have a good feeling. My kids put a lot of pressure on themselves. They weren't confident.

"Mount Hebron had everything to gain and nothing to lose, and we had everything to lose. Now, we have something to gain, and I think that's helping us already."

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