Notre Dame Prep's Coco Stanwick proved just about unstoppable yesterday, and the rest of the Blazers followed her lead.
Stanwick scored seven goals on nine shots and had three assists as the No. 9 Blazers nailed 21 of 29 shots to power a 21-15 victory over No. 2 Hereford in the seventh Maryland High School Lacrosse Showdown at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field.
The Bulls knew all about Stanwick, a senior All-Metro attacker headed for Georgetown, but they could not counter the quickness of her feet, her stick and her decisions.
"She works extremely hard," said Hereford's Chrissy Rude. "Nothing's easy for her, because we're doubling down on her. We're trying to watch her body, but her stick is really quick. She plays really hard and she controls her team."
While Stanwick draws most of the defensive attention, the Blazers (7-3-1) made it easier for her and tougher for the Bulls' defense by spreading the scoring around. Six other NDP players scored, including Becky Lillemoe, Ali McMeekin and Alex Gangler with three goals each.
"They move the ball better than anybody," said Hereford coach Anne Ensor. "They play a very traditional game of lacrosse, where it's pass, pass, pass, pass, pass. Most of the teams we play now just give it to a fast kid and she runs down. We went to see them play, but it's hard to defend against that when you haven't played against it."
With their high-powered offense, the Blazers never trailed, although the Bulls (5-1) managed to tie at 2 and 3. Still, the Bulls' attack nearly kept pace behind some big scorers of their own - Jessica Allen with four goals and five assists, Rude with five goals and an assist and Mollie Reese with three goals and an assist.
Hereford pulled within 17-15 on Allen's free-position goal with 6:49 left in the game. Stanwick, however, halted the momentum by scoring on a crease roll. Her goal with 5:30 left set off a final 4-0 NDP run.
The Blazers controlled most of the draws late in the game just as they had in building as much as a six-goal lead early on. They used that possession and precision passing to strike in transition, but when they didn't get the quick open shot, Stanwick ran a patient set offense that found a lot of holes in the Bulls' defense.
"Coco could score no goals and have no assists and still be the most important person out there, because she's going to run the show," said Blazers coach Mary Bartel. "Since she was a freshman, she's been doing that for us."