No. 5 Saints fall short in 2-0 semifinal loss to No. 4 St. Paul's

Defeat doesn't overshadow St. Mary's stellar season

IAAM field hockey

High Schools

November 12, 1999|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

The fifth-ranked St. Mary's Saints left yesterday's Independent Athletic Association of Maryland tournament semifinal at No. 4 St. Paul's with mixed emotions after falling 2-0.

"It's tough, but we're still proud of ourselves," said Saints midfielder Courtney Thornton. "This is the first time in St. Mary's field hockey history that we've made it to the semifinals, so while we're sad because we knew we could win this game, we still have a lot to be proud of."

The Saints (10-4-4) tried to rally late, forcing seven second-half penalty corners. They outshot the Gators, 8-5, in the half, but St. Paul's goalie Laura DiCamillo made seven saves and one Kelly Busik shot sailed wide of the cage.

The Gators (12-2-1) move on to meet No. 1 Bryn Mawr for the inaugural IAAM A Division title at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Towson University.

Yesterday, the Gators took the lead midway through the first half when Elaine Belitsos scored on a second effort after a broken corner play. Saints goalie Addie Lewis stopped Jenny Landsman's shot, but she could not reach Belitsos' shot off the rebound.

After that, the Gators combined a top-notch midfield game, led by Molly Ahearn and Lauren Dahdah, with speed on the forward line to get the jump on the Saints. St. Paul's moved the ball down the alleys away from the Saints midfield strength and threatened on numerous fast breaks.

"They found a way to expose us in the midfield," said Thornton, "and we sometimes had a hard time recovering. Then, they'd get a man up on us."

Gators left wing Sarah Sloane set up a Landsman goal with a textbook break down her alley. She carried the ball about 40 yards down the side, dodged two Saints, cut toward the circle and fired a reverse-stick pass to Landsman, who broke with her down the middle and deflected the pass into the right corner of the cage with 19: 22 left in the game.

"We knew they had some strength in the middle of their field," said Gators coach Heather O'Neill, "and we knew we had to use the alleys and our wings just did a fabulous job -- Sarah Sloane, Meg Spies and Jill Haak."

Lewis, who finished with five saves, kept the Gators from further padding their lead with four second-half saves, including one against Belitsos with five minutes left.

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