Anne Arundel Community College's men's lacrosse team ended nine years of frustration last night by defeating visiting Essex Community College, 16-14, in a Region XX showdown in Arnold.
The Pioneers, whose last win over the Knights came in 1985, will see them again when the two teams meet at Catonsville Community College on April 30 to determine who wins the region title and an automatic tournament bid.
"We finally broke down that wall, at least I hope we did," said Pioneers coach Buddy Beardmore, after watching his team snap a 17-game losing streak against the Knights.
"Our team knew that they could play with these guys but we had to play four quarters."
The Pioneers (10-2), who entered the game ranked fifth in the country in the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association, took control of the contest in the third quarter as they opened it with five unanswered goals.
Three of those pivotal goals came off the stick of sophomore midfielder Steven Phipps, who finished with a team-high five goals.
Anne Arundel stretched the lead to 14-10 with 5:22 left in the third quarter on an unassisted goal by Maury LaPointe (four goals, one assist) but Essex closed out the period with three goals to cut the lead to one.
LaPointe returned the lead to two with a goal early in the fourth quarter and Anne Arundel's defense -- namely Joe Ross, Brendan Kelly, Brian Grant and keeper Jim Brown (15 saves) -- did its job in keeping the Knights' high-powered attack in check.
No. 4-ranked Essex managed to get back to within one on a goal by Mason Ray before sophomore attackman Andy Goeller closed out the scoring with an insurance goal with 1:42 remaining.
"We got caught up playing some man-to-man defense and Anne Arundel has some studs out there that can go to the goal and we didn't slide," said Essex coach Tim Puls, who got six goals and two assists from Scott Joyner and two goals and three assists from Dan Mason.
"It was a good game and I don't have any complaints. Anne Arundel came out to win and they scored when they had to."