St. Paul's tops Spalding for title all its own

Co-champs for 2 years, Gators savor 2-1 victory

Glenelg retains `B' hold

High Schools

November 03, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

The raucous St. Paul's celebration after claiming the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference field hockey tournament championship yesterday was three years in the making.

With a 2-1 victory over No. 3 Archbishop Spalding, the No. 4 Gators finally won the crown outright after sharing it two years in a row.

"If we had tied again, I think half our team would have quit," said Gators senior defender Leslie Koch with a grin. "Oh my goodness, this feels so good. I think our new slogan is `The third time is the charm.' "

Against the Cavaliers, the second time proved the charm, because in their regular-season meeting Spalding had rallied from two goals down to tie St. Paul's, 2-2.

Yesterday's game at Roland Park seemed headed in the same direction. After Sarah Seats and Megan Del Monte gave the Gators a 2-0 lead, Katie Monaghan cut the edge to 2-1 with 11:22 left.

This time, however, Gators defenders Koch, Downey Talucci, Jackie Blucher and Rachel Cook refused to surrender a tying goal. In the final 5:26, Koch made two strong plays to disrupt Cavaliers penalty corners.

"We sometimes let down for a couple seconds and if they score we get real frustrated," said Koch, "but we just kept a level head. We were up one the whole time, so we didn't get flustered."

With the victory, the Gators (15-1-2) pulled off a rare double championship by winning the regular-season title as well as the tournament title. They edged the Cavaliers (15-1-3), who had never been to the tournament final before, by a single point for each title.

Spalding had to play yesterday without half of its one-two senior scoring punch of Erin Kelly and Caitlin Swift. Swift, a left wing, broke her hand in the last St. Paul's game.

"Not having Caitlin is a bummer," said Kelly, "because she's been a starter for three years. We had to go in there with a new person who came off the bench. She did a good job of replacing her, but it's not quite the same."

Still the Cavaliers threatened right away as Monaghan fired a shot off a penalty corner less than two minutes into the game that Gators goalie K.C. Burke saved.

In short order, the Gators went on the attack and they finished. Del Monte redirected a long ball from Rachel Cook that caught the Cavaliers' defense off-guard. Seats ran onto it and had a one-on-one shot against goalie Marian Cassilly, firing strong to the far post for the goal.

Del Monte boosted the lead to 2-0, scoring on a corner off a pass from Kara Colnitis with 22:38 left in the game.

Spalding, knowing it had rallied from two goals down last time, didn't worry. With 11:22 to go, Monaghan took a corner pass from Caitlin Sullivan and nailed it down the middle of the circle.

"They accomplished something no other team from Spalding has ever accomplished. We've never been in the championship," said Cavaliers coach Leslee Brady. "And it's the first time they've lost all year. They haven't had to deal with that emotion and the feeling of a loss until the championship game. Now, that's the good news and the bad news."

B Conference

Glenelg Country School 3, Oldfields 2: Glenelg Country School won its fourth straight B Conference championship, but Oldfields made the Dragons earn it. Courtney Hoke scored the game-winner with 4:15 left in overtime at Roland Park.

The Dragons (12-2-3) won their first three titles with little contention, but Oldfields scored first yesterday and took a 2-1 lead early in the second half when Katie Tracey's shot deflected off a defender's stick and sailed high into the cage.

Oldfields (8-6-5), which fell to Glenelg, 4-1, during the regular season and had not won a title since 1997, came within 1:47 of dethroning the Dragons.

Abbe Sandler forced the game into overtime when she scored on a rebound of her own shot.

In the first of two seven-on-seven overtime periods, Hoke took a cross from Casey Tang, dodged a defender and nailed the shot.

Hoke, a senior, said this game was much different than their previous tournament victories.

"It's been a little easy for us the last few years," said Hoke, whose team won their previous titles, 4-1, 2-0 and 2-0. "It's like it's been handed to us, but this year, we had to work for it."

A Conference

St. Paul's 2, Spalding 1

Goals: SPA-Monaghan, SP-Del Monte, Seats. Assists: SPA-Sullivan; SP-Colnitis. Saves: SPA-Cassilly 3; SP-Burke 1. Half: SP, 1-0.

B Conference

Glenelg CS 3, Oldfields 2, OT

Goals: O-Tracey 2, GC-Hoke, Huffman, Sandler. Assist: GC-Tang. Saves: O-Wilson 3; GC-Barry 1, Kaczanowska 1. Half: 1-1. End of reg: 2-2.

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