St. Paul's eliminates Reds from tourney on controversial goal Dahdah's rebound tally upsets No. 2 Roland Park

Field hockey

November 07, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Two weeks ago, Roland Park came from behind to beat St. Paul's, but the No. 7-ranked Gators didn't give No. 2 Roland Park enough time to repeat the feat yesterday.

Lauren Dahdah scored after a controversial corner with 4: 10 left for a 1-0 upset in an Association of Independent Schools A Division tournament semifinal.

The defending champion Gators (12-2-2) advanced to the title game for the third straight year. They will meet No. 8 Bryn Mawr for the championship at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Roland Park. If it rains, the game will be played Monday.

The Reds (18-2) lost to the Gators, 2-0, in last year's title game, but they likely will remember yesterday's loss a lot longer.

The controversy arose not from Dahdah's shot, but from the first shot of the corner play. Paola Sardi passed the ball to the top of the circle, where Alison Polk-Williams fired a drive that hit Reds goalie Gretchen Crook in the chest.

The Reds defenders said they expected the shot to be called dangerous, but it wasn't. In the scramble for the rebound, Dahdah scored.

Reds coach Debbie Bloodsworth called time out to argue that Polk-Williams' drive was too high and should have resulted in a turnover.

"As I understood the rules," said Bloodsworth, "on a penalty corner, the initial shot on goal, if it's a drive, has to be below 18 inches."

The officials spent more than five minutes discussing the play and checking the rule book before announcing that the goal stood.

"The interpretation by the officials," said Gators coach Eileen Alban, "was that if the ball crosses the goal line above 18 inches, it is not called a goal, but since it did not cross the goal line -- the goalie saved it, and then we played the ball -- they deemed that the rule was still intact."

Crook, who made six saves, including one against Polk-Williams' first-half penalty stroke, was still stunned after the game.

"We're all really upset," said the junior keeper. "They [the officials] claimed that if both teams keep playing, then it's OK, but I don't see how you can say if you keep playing after something dangerous that it's OK. If you've been calling it dangerous the whole game, then it's dangerous then, too."

The controversy overshadowed the best game of the season by the Gators, who gave up two second-half goals to fall 2-1 to the Reds on Oct. 22.

The Gators were quicker to the ball, and their entire defense -- Kate Ahearn, Erin Oglesby, Marcella Sardi, Elaine Belitsos and Kelly Noon -- stalled the Reds on transition and did not allow them a shot on any of their five penalty corners. Goalie Laura DiCamillo also had some big saves, including one in the opening minutes of the second half against a rocket shot from Elizabeth Ryan.

"They're a really big fast-break team, so we knew we had to play a bit more defensively but keep the offensive line around the 50 for break-throughs. We just marked up tight, and it worked for us," said Ahearn, whose team notched its 13th shutout.

The host Reds, on the other hand, weren't quite at their best.

"We really hustled our butts off. We went 100 percent all out," said junior back Megan Kelly, "but I just don't think we were on today. With a team like St. Paul's, you just need a little bit more."

Pub Date: 11/07/97

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