In its quest to repeat as the Association of Independent Schools A Division lacrosse champion, No. 3-ranked St. Mary's has relied heavily on a potent offensive unit that has taken center stage in game after game.
Lately, however, the Saints' defense has stolen the spotlight.
In yesterday's 11-3 win over host No. 10 Severn in the AIS tournament quarterfinals, St. Mary's held the Admirals scoreless at one stretch for nearly 36 minutes. The Admirals got just four shots during the span, during which saw St. Mary's scored eight goals to turn a close game into a rout.
"Just like the old saying goes, defense will be what makes or breaks us," said senior defender Tiffany Schummer. "We'll get our goals, so we know we have a good chance to win if we play well defensively. Right now, nobody is able to get through us."
The Saints (12-2) advanced to the semifinals at 4 p.m. today when they travel to top-ranked Roland Park for the right to play in Saturday's championship game. The Saints are undefeated since losing by a goal to the Reds in their meeting last month.
"We've been peaking our past four games," said Saints coach Erika Bristow. "We've been playing the best ball I've seen us play all season."
That was certainly the case yesterday.
Led by attackers Katie Robinson (game-high four goals) and Morgan Thalenburg (two), as well as Schummer (two), St. Mary's overcame an early 2-1 deficit to build a 10-2 lead with 13 minutes left.
Severn (8-7-1) tried in vain to generate offense, but time and again came away empty.
Said Severn coach Renie Sotiropoulos: "We had our chances but just couldn't connect, and they took advantage of every chance they had."
Senior Jen Hartman led the Admirals with two goals.
St. Mary's players say they are undaunted in defending the AIS championship they won last spring, their first in the league.
"Last year we were the underdogs," said Robinson. "This year, they have to knock us off. We like it better this way."
Roland Park 15, John Carroll 3: Erin McInnes scored four goals and Lauren Miller had two goals and two assists as the Reds (20-0) defeated the Patriots (3-7-2) in the A Division quarterfinals. Twelve players scored a least a point for Roland Park, which outshot John Carroll, 37-12.
Notre Dame Prep 15, Garrison Forest 7: Lauren Aumiller led all scorers with four goals as the Pirates (12-1) advanced to the A Division semifinals. Cantey Boyd (two goals, two assists) led the Grizzlies with four points.
Garrison Forest trailed by only three goals most of the second half, but Notre Dame Prep pulled away by shutting out the Grizzlies over the final 10 minutes. The Pirates will host Bryn Mawr at 4 p.m. today.
Bryn Mawr 12, St. Paul's 7: Kim Smith scored seven goals, and the Mawrtians never trailed on the way to victory in the A Division quarterfinals. Jenny Landsman led St. Paul's (5-6) with three goals.
Archbishop Spalding 18, Glenelg Country 3: Cat Brady and Kattie Mannix combined for nine goals and eight assists as the Cavaliers (9-6) advanced to the semifinals of the AIS B Division tournament for the second straight year. Spalding hosts the Institute of Notre Dame at 4 p.m. today.
Park 15, Key School 4: Lisa Miller had four goals and Rebecca Shapiro three as the Bruins (7-4-1) were easy winners in the AIS B quarterfinals. Park plays at Mercy at 4 p.m. today.
Mercy 12, Oldfields 3: Kelley Jefferson scored four goals, and Heather Valunas added three as the host Magic won its B Division quarterfinal.
Institute of Notre Dame 18, Catholic 7: Beth Milani and Jill Spalding each scored four times to power the Indians (8-4) past Catholic in an AIS B quarterfinal.
Pub Date: 5/07/98