Annapolis made its first foray into Baltimore private school girls lacrosse territory yesterday and came away happy.
The No. 3 Panthers scored three goals in the last 1: 21 to tie No. 6 Roland Park, 9-9, in the season opener for both teams. Ashley Kopack bounced a free-position shot past goalie Meghan McInnes to tie with 22.9 seconds left.
"We had been taking a lot of high shots and she had stopped them," said Kopack, "so I thought I'd bounce it and have a better chance."
Kopack's teammate Acacia Walker had one last chance to win, narrowly missing the angle from 20 yards off to the right.
"I'm not happy with the tie, but I'm happy because we came back in the second half," said Walker, who played on the U.S. Under-19 team with Reds McInnes and Kelsey Twist.
"It's awesome playing against these girls. Roland Park is such a good school for lacrosse and everyone wants to know how we compare. I guess the score showed it."
The Panthers, two-time defending state Class 4A-3A champs, came awfully close to winning. They hit the pipe three times and lost a goal to a foul.
For the Reds, who led 5-1 at the half, a critical mistake came on the goal before Kopack's when they left Lexie Elliott unmarked in front of the crease. From 25 yards out to the left, Sarah Oliphant hit Elliott, who cut the lead to 9-8 with one minute left.
"We just weren't tight enough off the draw down to the settled offense," said Reds coach Tara Kramer, whose team lost the last five draws of the game.
In the second half, the Panthers used possession off the draw to strike on transition and were more patient in their set offense. They opened the half with a 5-1 run, capped by Kristy Dirks' goal to tie at 6 with 11: 44 to go.
But the momentum shifted back to the Reds two minutes later after a Panthers miscue helped them take the lead again. Defender Melissa Block had the ball on the ground just in front of the crease, but when she rolled it back to goalie Emily Childs, the ball slipped past Childs into the goal.
Allison Higgins then rolled the crease for an 8-6 Reds lead before Alex Thomas fed Mary McCeney to pull ahead 9-6 with 6: 47 left.
McInnes, who finished with 11 saves, made three over the next four minutes, but after Dirks missed a free-position shot wide, Walker grabbed the loose ball and made it 9-7 with 1: 21 left. That gave the momentum back to the Panthers for good.