Defense helps Annapolis score another title, 13-4

Panthers down Liberty for 2nd straight crown

3A-4A girls lacrosse

May 26, 1999|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

All season, No. 5 Annapolis has been heralded for its overpowering attack, but in last night's state Class 3A-4A title game against No. 10 Liberty, the Panthers' defense proved even more overpowering.

The Panthers (19-1) held Liberty to just two shots in the first 24 minutes en route to a 13-4 victory at UMBC for their second straight Class 3A-4A championship and their third crown in four years.

The Lions (17-3) simply could not contend with the defensive pressure the Panthers applied. They forced turnovers all over the field and pounced on nearly every ground ball.

"We couldn't get the ball even when we knocked it out," said Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn. "They were great at picking up the garbage off the ground."

Becca McDevitt, Robyn Mincher, Mary Beth Simmons, Jesse White and Caitlin Stone led a Panthers' defensive effort that rarely let the Lions set up on attack and allowed them just one goal in the first 28 minutes.

Goalie Emily Childs allowed just three goals and made five saves, including one in the final 40 seconds of the first half.

The Panthers' defense has allowed just 53 goals this season, an average of 2.65 per game.

"They get overlooked," said Annapolis coach Dave Gehrdes. "Our defense is just super. To show you the respect our team has for the defense, they voted Emily Childs, our goalkeeper, our most valuable player."

Sophomore attacker Sarah Oliphant couldn't praise her defensive teammates enough even though she had four goals and four assists -- just one point shy of the Class 3A-4A tournament record.

"It's easy for me to stand back at the crease and score the goals," said Oliphant, "but I wouldn't be anything without Emily, Becca, Robyn and Mary Beth working the transition all the way up. That's why we say it's a team, because that's what gets us there."

The Panthers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead as Christy McNew rolled the crease and then, a minute later, scored on a free-position.

Michelle Allen brought the Lions within 2-1 with on a spinner in front of the goal, but the Panthers answered with the last five goals of the half -- another from McNew, who finished with four, two from Kristy Dirks, and one each from Oliphant and Lauren Mincher.

Liberty took two shots in the last 40 seconds, but Childs made a point-blank save on the first and the second shot hit the post.

Oliphant and Lauren Mincher boosted the lead to 9-1 after the half, and the Lions never got closer than within seven. Allen brought them within 9-2, and then Jessica Roguski brought them within 10-3.

Athletes of week

The Sun's Athletes of the Week will be published tomorrow. Nominations for the school year's final two selections, to be published next week, can be made Sunday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at 410-332-6200 or 1-800-829-8000, ext. 6200.

Pub Date: 5/26/99

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