Mount de Sales survives 9-goal Seton Keough rally

No. 11 Sailors escape, 11-10

Gators dominate 2nd half

Girls lacrosse

April 27, 2002|By Mike Casey | Mike Casey,SUN STAFF

On an emotional day at Seton Keough, the Gators, upstarts of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference, strung together nine straight goals and nearly pulled off a miraculous lacrosse comeback against No. 11 Mount de Sales.

But the Sailors held on, with seconds to spare, for an 11-10 win yesterday.

The much-anticipated matchup of neighborhood rivals began on a somber note, as players and coaches from both sides gathered to honor two late sports figures at the Caton Avenue school, coach Florence Bell, who died in 2000, and Meghan Puls, a basketball and lacrosse player killed in a car accident last fall.

The ceremony seemed to affect the Gators' first-half play, as Mount de Sales took control in the early going.

The Sailors (10-2-4), who play in the IAAM A Conference, surged to an 8-1 halftime lead, thanks to three goals from junior Monica Buck and two each from Laurie Libertini and Jordan Fewell. Junior goalie Colleen O'Boyle also looked sharp, saving six first-half shots, some from just outside her goal circle.

Mount de Sales maintained its dominating play early in the second half, continuing to overwhelm its distracted opponent. After midfielder Katy Kirby scored four minutes into the second half, the Sailors held a seemingly invulnerable 11-1 lead.

But a change in attacking schemes by Gators coach P. J. Kesmodel resulted in an almost immediate shift in momentum.

"What we tried to do in the second half was get to the ball to Kerry O'Connell down closer to the goal," he said.

The senior attacker responded with three goals in four minutes, slicing the Sailors' lead to 11-4. Seconds later, the Gators swatted a ground ball past O'Boyle. Katie Muth then ducked under the Sailors' defense and put in a low shot that made the score 11-6.

After a Mount de Sales timeout with 12:48 remaining, O'Connell added her fourth goal of the afternoon off a feed from junior Angie Martin. Martin then scored two of her own, the second with 3:50 left. When O'Connell converted a pass from Muth into her fifth goal, making the score 11-10, the Seton Keough crowd reached fever pitch.

The Gators (10-6) nearly got the tie with less than 30 seconds remaining. But O'Boyle denied them with two saves, one on a stuff attempt by Meghan Carver at one side of the goal, and sealed the win for a shaken Mount de Sales team.

After the game, the teams' emotions belied the outcome.

"One of our senior captains said, `This is the happiest I've ever been after a loss,'" said Kesmodel, who added that the game had a particularly great amount of significance to Seton Keough players and fans. "It doesn't matter if you win any other games all year, as long as you win this one."

Mount de Sales' Monica Buck dissected the nearly disastrous breakdown in one sentence: "We played scared."

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