Rain fell on yesterday's title game but not on No. 4 Roland Park's bid for a fifth straight Association of Independent Schools A Division tournament championship.
Peggy Boutilier scored the game-winner on a corner pass from Catherine Passano early in the second half to give the Reds a 1-0 victory over Severn at St. Paul's School for Girls.
Appearing in their seventh straight tournament final, the Reds (11-3) won the title outright for the third time in five years. They settled for co-champ status in 1990 and 1991.
Yesterday, the third-seeded Reds completely dominated fourth seed Severn (7-4-5) with a 26-2 advantage in shots and a 10-0 edge on penalty corners.
The Admirals simply could not contend with the Reds in the midfield where senior links Boutilier and Brent McCallister controlled the game. Few balls made it through to the Reds' defense, but backs Jen Murray, Elizabeth Rodgers and Ridgely Bennett took care of those. Sweeper Virginia Hodges barely touched the ball.
Starting keeper Meredith Shuey never had to make a save. Her back-up Eleanor Cordi cleared away one last-ditch Severn attempt when Megan Alexander threatened on a fast break in the final 43 seconds of the game.
"They're just a very good team," said Severn coach Ann Eisinger. "Their stops are outstanding. They have great stickwork. We knew coming into this that we were a huge underdog, so we knew it was going to be a tough defensive game."
Playing without their starting center halfback Joyce Wu, who tore knee ligaments in the semifinal, the Admirals still made a strong defensive stand. Sweeper Becky Paul and halfbacks Amy Galebach, Gussie Habeck, Carrie Cole and Emily Franey kept Severn in the game. Keeper Jill Stursa had nine saves.
With their defense early on, it looked as if the Admirals might force the Reds to share the title yet again. Roland Park could not break through in the first half despite 10 shots and four penalty corners.
At halftime, though, the Reds were not discouraged. "We were trying pretty hard to keep it up there," said McCallister. "It's a little ball and a big, big goal, and we knew if we kept it up there sooner or later it was going to go in."
Two minutes into the second half, it did. Boutilier stopped Passano's corner pass right at her feet and fired into the cage.
The ball hit a defender's stick, but it was moving so fast it continued into the cage.
The Reds nearly connected on the same play three other times in the half, but Boutilier nailed her shots wide of the cage.
"I wish we could have scored more, because we dominated so much," said Reds coach Debbie Bloodsworth. "It's a shame we couldn't have converted to make the score more indicative of the way we played."