Roland Park coach Debbie Bloodsworth said her players were a bit nervous in the first half of yesterday's game against rival Bryn Mawr.
That's understandable, considering they were writing the latest chapter in a series that is believed to date back to World War II.
But once the jitters went away, the host Reds showed why they've won an unprecedented five straight Association of Independent Schools titles.
Fourteenth-ranked Roland Park (7-2-1) outshot No. 9 Bryn Mawr, 10-4, in the second half, scoring with under five minutes left en route to a 1-0 victory. The win sets up Tuesday's matchup with No. 5 Garrison Forest in a showdown between first-place teams.
"Emotionally, it's a boost," said Bloodsworth, whose team still trails in the series, 16-12-7 since the current trophy was first awarded in 1960. "It's nice to win an exciting game like this with everybody watching."
Link Jen Murray scored the only goal, beating goalie Kristin Garro from 12 yards with 4:17 to play.
"We were fiddling around with [the ball] and it came out to me," said Murray, who was standing near the top of the arc. "I just hit it and it went in."
The goal capped off nearly 20 minutes of Roland Park domination, in which the Reds took seven penalty corners and came within inches of scoring a handful of goals.
The Mawrtians' best scoring chance came with seven minutes left, when link Emily Hickman hit a hard shot off the right post. Though some Bryn Mawr players contended it had entered then bounced back out of the goal, the referee ruled that it never crossed the line.
"I think my kids played really well, but we've just had a lot of trouble scoring goals," said Mawrtians coach Jeanette Budzik. "Everybody just really had their adrenalin flowing for this one."
In the end, it was Roland Park captains Ridgely Bennett and Elizabeth Rodgers who carried off the victors' trophy, which had spent the last year at Bryn Mawr (7-3-2).
Said Bloodsworth: "With the hoopla surrounding this game, it's really nice to win."