All through yesterday's regional Class 3A-2A South girls lacrosse final, Franklin's Meghan Higgins drew a crowd. In the waning seconds of the game, the senior midfielder exploited that Catonsville defensive strategy to give the Indians their first regional championship.
With 25 seconds left in the game, Higgins carried three Catonsville defenders toward the right side of the crease. That left Sara McCallam uncovered and Higgins hit her for a quick goal and a 15-14 victory over the No. 11 Comets.
"I know that they try to mark Meghan up and if she can draw my defender to her, I'm wide open for the shot," McCallam said. "When I saw Meghan with the ball, I screamed as loud as I could, because I was open. I just took [the pass] and shot right over the goalie's head."
The Indians (8-4) move on to meet No. 1 and defending state champ Mount Hebron in the state semifinals Saturday at Annapolis High.
Yesterday's victory over the defending regional champion Comets (12-3) was the second-straight one-goal win for the host Indians against their western Baltimore County rivals.
Higgins had given the Indians a 14-13 lead on a free-position goal with 7:04 left, but Claire Cunniff tied it on a free position with 57 seconds to go.
Higgins, who will play for Maryland next season, gave the Comets trouble all afternoon, not only with her three goals and two assists but with her ability to control the draw. With Higgins taking the draw, the Indians won 21 of 31 draws, including the first 11 of 12 in the second half.
"Meghan is outstanding at the draw," Comets coach Jill Altshuler said. "She draws it to her left side, has great body positioning, blocks out our person and catches the ball. It's like we don't even have a chance at it."
After Cunniff tied the game, Higgins drew the ball left and Ashley Harris came up with it. The Indians easily moved the ball downfield on a series of passes to unmarked players before Higgins got the ball and made the assist to McCallam.
"It was a total breakdown on defense," said Catonsville midfielder Becky Clipp, who had four goals as did Sandy Wasserbach. "When we beat Hereford, there were hardly any breakdowns on defense. We killed ourselves in transition. We'd play hard defense and throw the ball to the midfield and lose it."