For the past three years, Roland Park vs. Mount Hebron has been the main event at the Roland Park Invitational, but this year St. Mary's stole the show.
The No. 5 Saints defeated West Chester Henderson (Pa.), 10-5, with an impressive defensive showing to win yesterday's tournament in their first appearance.
The Roland Park-Mount Hebron showdown had been the title game all three previous years, with the winner going on to finish the season as the area's No. 1 team, but yesterday the rivals had to settle for second billing. The No. 8 Vikings rebounded from a first-round loss to St. Mary's to upset No. 1 and two-time defending champ Roland Park, 8-6, in the consolation.
But St. Mary's was the talk of the tournament.
"They're a very talented team," said West Chester Henderson coach Kim Jackson. "They have speed, their attack is very patient and they play good defense. We were making little mistakes and that makes a big difference, especially against a team like that."
Defensively, the Saints (9-2) could not have played much better. Led by Meaghan Lewis, Tara Foran, Kristin Hagert and goalie Jen Corradini (11 saves), they posted a rare first-half shutout in the title game. The Warriors helped them out a bit by missing an open-net goal late in the half.
But by then, the Saints had jumped on the Warriors (6-2) for four goals, mostly by working the crease to perfection. Jen Manning and Kellie Thompson each rolled the crease for a goal and Manning added an eight-meter goal after she was fouled on the roll.
Because the Warriors did not double-team on the crease, the Saints went for every opening they saw.
Foran fed Marianne Gioffre for the 4-0 halftime lead. Although the Warriors scored a quick one to open the second half, the Saints answered every goal and led by at least three the rest of the way.
In their first-round game, the Saints ran up an even bigger lead on Mount Hebron (5-1). Manning, Thompson, Katie Robinson, Michelle Zurfluh, Jennifer Sturm and Lauren Kenchington scored a 12-minute run for an early 6-1 lead.
After Robinson fed Meaghan O'Doherty to go up 10-5, the Vikings scored three goals in the final 5: 30 to make it close. Corradini made 13 saves as the Vikings outshot the Saints, 27-18.
The shooting woes were even worse for Roland Park (4-2), which outshot the Warriors 33-13 and the Vikings 18-17 but ended up losing both games. The Reds fell to the Warriors, 7-6, in the opener.
Lauren Miller, Betsy Gaines and Kelly Sloan gave the Reds an early 3-1 lead, but the Reds struggled through much the game.
Vikings center Julie Kickham controlled most of the draws and her teammates played with patience on attack while the Reds' attack forced a lot of passes that resulted in turnovers. At the same time, the Reds could not stop Kyle Rutkowski, who scored five goals, including one that gave the Vikings the lead for good at 7-6.
The Vikings seemed content with their tournament split, because the win over Roland Park evened the series at two wins each.
"This was what we've been waiting for since last year," said Kickham. "We executed well and we played smart. Beating the No. 1 team speaks for itself, I think."
Pub Date: 4/14/96