Playing at top of its game, Hereford hits peak, 22-4

Bulls set scoring mark in rout of Southern-AA

Class 2A-1A state girls lacrosse

High Schools

May 22, 2002|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

On a good day, Hereford's girls lacrosse team can give an opponent fits. On a great day, the No. 3 Bulls can look unstoppable.

For Hereford, yesterday's Class 2A-1A state championship would qualify as a great day.

The Bulls played their best game of the season, easily blowing past Southern of Anne Arundel County, 22-4, at UMBC to win their second straight state title. The game was a rematch of last year's state final - a 12-3 Hereford victory - but it was essentially over by halftime. The Bulls (17-1) scored 16 straight goals at one point, and were never seriously challenged by the Bulldogs (9-7). Southern fought valiantly, getting all four of its goals from senior Lauren Zang, but it simply didn't have the speed to stay with Hereford's attack, which set a state record for the most goals (boys or girls) ever scored in a state championship game.

The record also had added significance for the Bulls, because they were on the wrong side of the previous mark in 1995, when Mount Hebron scored 20 goals on them.

"I really think this was our best game all season," said Bulls attackman Chrissy Rude, who scored six times and had two assists. "We've played good games, but we hadn't put together on complete effort, and I think we did that tonight. Hebron set the old record on us, so it means a lot to go back and erase that."

Rude certainly did her part. Only a junior, Rude's ability to win draws (she won 25 of 28 on the night) gave her and her team countless opportunities against the Bulldogs, who simply couldn't get the ball back for long stretches.

"Chrissy is such a great player, I'm really blessed to have her," said Hereford coach Anne Ensor. "They played her tight and strong all night, and for her to still get shots off is a testament of how good she is."

Hereford's Lauren Carls scored three times, and Mollie Reese and Scotty Hanley each added two goals to pace the Bulls' juggernaut.

For Southern, just getting back to the state final was an impressive accomplishment. The Bulldogs suffered a 13-11 loss to Old Mill to end the regular season, but regrouped to beat Easton, Queen Anne and Francis Scott Key in the playoffs. Southern beat Francis Scott Key despite playing without Zang, their leading scorer, who sat out because of a red-card violation against Queen Anne.

"I think we played OK tonight, but we were a little nervous," Zang said. "We knew we'd have to play our best to win because they're the best team we've faced this year. It was tough to keep up with them."

Hereford may not be done yet. Though the Bulls graduate nine starters, their top three scorers (Rude, Jessica Allen and Mollie Reese) all return for next year.

"It's going to be even more pressure next year," Rude said. "But this team rose to the challenge. I think maybe we had more good players last year, but this year we were more mature. We're still going to have a corps group of girls back, and I think we'll be good next year too."

Goals: H-Rude 6, Allen 5, Carls 3, M. Reese 2, Hanley 2, M. Bateman, Ardolino, C. Bateman, J. Reese. S-Zang 4. Assists: Allen 3, M. Reese 3, Rude 2. Saves: H-Turnbaugh 2, Feldheim 1. S-Dixon 13. Half: H, 14-2.

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