No. 13 St. Mary's uses defense to turn aside Mount de Sales

5-1 Finnigan comes up big, making 15 saves in Saints' 11-5 victory

High Schools

Girls lacrosse

March 27, 2001|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

As the only returning starter on St. Mary's defense, Jess Mikula knew it might take a while for the Saints to meld into a tight unit. It took three games.

A strong defensive showing, bolstered by goalie Katie Finnigan's 15 saves, sparked the No. 13 Saints to an 11-5 victory over No. 14 Mount de Sales yesterday in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference Leers League opener for both teams.

"Our defense really came together as a team today," said Mikula, a senior. "I knew we'd be good this year, but in our first two scrimmages we didn't really come out as a team. Against Spalding [a 9-8 win], we didn't come out hard. Our main goal in this game was to come out hard in the beginning."

Finnigan, who played on the junior varsity last season, set the tone 40 seconds into the game with a save against Bridget Eder, aiming for a high corner. As their defense held, the Saints' attack responded.

Jaimee Motley scored two goals and Brooke Dieringer added another in the first 12 minutes for a lead the Saints never relinquished.

Although the Sailors (3-1) managed to outshoot the visiting Saints, 28-21, many of their shots - including most of their 17 second-half attempts - weren't chosen well. With the Saints (3-0) playing tight defense, the Sailors forced shots and kept looking for high corners against the 5-foot-1 Finnigan, who snared everything over her head.

"She did have a good game against us, but sometimes we made her look good," said Sailors coach Mary Gagnon. "We shot high. She was saving everything high and we didn't go low. The goals we scored were all low shots."

The Sailors made the game close briefly when Monica Buck scored twice within 59 seconds to cut the lead to 3-2 with 11:16 to go in the half. Buck scored first on a free position and then on a nice feed from Corrie Christensen, who drew the defense and dumped the ball to Buck coming around the crease.

But the momentum was short-lived for the Sailors as the Saints finished off the half with three straight goals - two from Ashley Stanwick and one from Dieringer. Dieringer closed out the half with a 6-2 Saints lead by breaking unmarked down the middle and converting a terrific pass from Allessandra Salatti.

Christensen cut the lead to 6-3 right after the break, but the Saints ran up a 9-3 edge while holding the Saints to just two shots over the next 11 minutes. After Finnigan made a point-blank stop against Laurie Libertini, Dieringer added her fourth goal of the game to make it 9-3 with 8:59 left.

Although the Saints didn't take as many shots as the Sailors, they were much more accurate, hitting on 11 of 21 shots.

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