Francis Scott Key did something in just 69 seconds yesterday that it could not do in 80 minutes last week -- score.
No. 5-ranked Key (9-1-1) atoned for its scoreless tie at Middletown with a 5-0 whipping of the visiting Knights (4-4-2) yesterday. The romp was the third successive offensive burst for Key, which has scored 13 goals in its last three starts.
Stephanie Lawrence, a senior midfielder, led the assault with three goals, followed by senior Megan Straehle and junior Kim Mathias with a goal and an assist apiece, and Natalie Crabbs with two assists.
Key will close its regular season at Frederick next Tuesday.
The score was indicative of what can happen when a good team plays one of lesser skill that compounds the problem with a bad day.
"To put it politely, we were flat," said Middletown's second-year coach, Sue Schneider. "We have been erratic all year and this team certainly did not play like the one that got the tie last week. Some days we play with heart and aggressiveness and show our skills, and some days we don't."
The visitors never had a chance in this one. They crossed midfield only a few times and got off just four shots, all in the first half. At the other end, Key had 15 shots.
"Last week, we played as though it was a rainy Monday -- no interest," Key coach Mindi Wagner said. "This time, the players needed to show that game was a fluke."
They didn't waste any time.
Sophomore Sarah Gwynn, who shows an aptitude for finding the open lanes and driving the ball into the offensive end, did just that in the opening minute from near midfield into the circle. Straehle got her stick on the ball, got it to Lawrence and, just 1 minute, 9 seconds into the game, Middletown goalkeeper Kendra Nichols was watching Lawrence dig the ball out of the back of the cage.
The Eagles scored twice more in the half and got their last two goals in the final five minutes.
The shutout was the season's sixth for Becky Arnold, who benefited from senior Laura Thompson's solid play in front of her. "From freshman to senior, she is my most improved player. She is really playing well," Wagner said.
"I had only had one year of hockey at the rec level before my freshman year, so I have had to work hard all along to improve," Thompson said. "Basically, my skills are good conditioning -- that's a must -- and being able to recover to make a play.
Pub Date: 10/15/98