Francis Scott Key tops Catoctin, 8-7, wins West Region

Eagles on to state semis vs. Southern-Anne Arundel

Class 2A-1A girls lacrosse

High Schools

May 16, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Born in 1999, the Francis Scott Key girls lacrosse team still has yet to beat a Carroll County opponent.

With an 8-7 victory over visiting Catoctin last night, however, the Eagles, who spent much of their season on the short end of lopsided losses to the likes of Liberty and North Carroll, became the county's last team standing.

Rachel Devilbiss scored three goals and Melissa Hiner scored the go-ahead goal off a referee's throw-in with 7:31 left, as Key rallied from a 6-4 deficit to win the Class 2A-1A West Regional final.

The Eagles (7-8) advance to this weekend's state semifinals at CCBC-Catonsville, where they will face Southern-Anne Arundel, an 11-10 winner over Queen Anne's in the East final.

In a county dominated by 4A and 3A powers, all but the upstart from Union Bridge have now been eliminated. Players admit the county blowouts were discouraging at times, but credit them with giving the Eagles the tough competition they needed to improve.

"It helped us a lot," Devilbiss said. "We played all of those higher-level teams - teams like Liberty, who were more competitive and had more experience than us. I think it helped us and made us a better team."

"The county games are our toughest games all season," said coach Stacie Stouffer, whose team advanced to the final with a double-overtime win over Walkersville on Tuesday. "We kept telling the kids to keep working hard and keep a positive attitude ... and it has paid off. It's just awesome to be here in this position."

To get there, the Eagles had to outlast a game Catoctin team, which, after entering the contest with a 12-2 record, rallied from an early 3-1 deficit to take control by scoring five of the next six. Rachael Williams led the Cougars with three goals.

The Eagles tied it at 6 when Devilbiss picked up a loose ball in front of the net, and in one motion fired it past goalie Liz Fink with 11:52 left.

Minutes later, on a throw-in by the referee, Hiner made what turned out to be the defining play of the game. On the whistle, she cut in front of her opponents, stole the ball out of mid-air, then raced downfield unopposed and scored high to give Key a 7-6 lead.

"The referee pointed and said, `It's whistle, not ball,' " Hiner said. "As soon as she blew the whistle, I took it. I pretty much saw that it was a clear path to the goal."

Key increased the lead to 8-6 on Whitney Dell's free-position goal less than a minute later.

"We decided that if we didn't win a county game, we were going to win the region," Devilbiss said.

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