Century finishes with flair, 15-7

Kasper, Schwarzmann star one last time as Knights leave Southern-AA behind

Class 2A-1A state girls lacrosse final

High Schools

May 26, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Kelly Kasper and Lauren Schwarzmann know something about perfect endings.

The Century seniors crafted one last night with nine goals and five assists between them to lead the No. 11 Knights past Southern of Anne Arundel County, 15-7, for the Class 2A-1A crown at UMBC Stadium.

"It's definitely a great feeling to win your last game of your high school career," said Schwarzmann, who, along with Kasper, also helped the Knights win two state soccer titles in their first two seasons as a varsity program.

"Our whole career has been amazing," Kasper said. "I don't think it's really hit me yet. I think it will tomorrow when we don't have practice. I'll be like, what do I do? Right now, we're just so excited."

Only a record-setting performance from Southern goalie Amanda Church kept the game as close as it was. The Knights (17-2) outshot the Bulldogs 42-20, but Church made 18 saves -- a state championship-game record for any classification.

The Knights had been thinking about this state title run for a year -- after losing to Hereford in the final last year. Last night, they made sure that wouldn't happen again, building a 12-3 lead. Despite a surge from the speedy Bulldogs through the middle of the second half that cut the lead to 12-6, the Knights never left the outcome in doubt.

When Southern (10-7) began to rally, Century coach Rose Pentz called time.

"They were extremely motivated," Pentz said. "They were not going to let it get away. In the timeout, it was like, `Guys, you've got this game, but we've still got minutes on the clock. You've got to play hard.' "

Kasper, who finished with five goals and three assists, came out and scored in 17 seconds. Schwarzmann (four goals, two assists) fed Rachel Hawes and then scored. Those three goals, within 1:11, boosted the Knights' lead to 15-6 with 6:50 left.

Although Kasper finished her season with 72 goals and 41 assists and Johns Hopkins-bound Schwarzmann had 55 goals and 57 assists, Century has been much more than a two-girl team. Last night, Megan McGuire had a goal and two assists while Jenny Steadman and Hawes scored two goals each and Brittany Zerhusen, one.

Goalie Ashley Benitez had eight saves, and defenders Molly Gamble, Jess Kaminkow and Alicai Burkhart made key plays, as did attacker Lindsay Lamont and midfielder Abby Rees.

The Knights found themselves in a battle for every ball with the scrappy Bulldogs, who gained momentum from Church's efforts, but could rarely sustain it.

While Century put together three runs of three or more goals, Southern had just that one late run.

Southern coach Linda Kilpatrick, who is retiring after 18 years and a 163-100 record, said her team did a good job of stopping the Knights in their set offense

"Of the first nine goals in the first half, probably six of them were on transition rather than their set offense," Kilpatrick said. "We knew [Kasper] was going to be tough, which she was. You can't let her be out there on a fast break."

Church made some sensational saves against Kasper in transition.

"I was really anxious trying to save a few shots from [Kasper], because she's going to Maryland," Church said, "and I thought it would make me feel good if I saved some of her shots. I felt like I had a good game."

Church, who came into the state final four with an .816 save percentage, broke the record of 16 saves by Broadneck's Melissa Puzak last season and C. Milton Wright's Jen McHugh in 1998.

"She made some awesome saves," Kasper said. "We could have placed our shots a little bit better, but she did very well stopping our toughest shots. She gave us a hard time."

Kelly Christian and Abbey Smith scored two goals each for the Bulldogs.

Goals: S--Smith 2, K.Christian 2, Manas, Marcinik, Washko; C--Kasper 5, Schwarzmann 4, Steadman 2, Hawes 2, Zerhusen, McGuire. Assists: S--Line 2; C--Kasper 3, Schwarzmann 2, McGuire 2, Zerhusen, Lamont. Saves: S--Church 18; C--Benitez 8. Half: C, 9-3.

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