Quick study in girls lacrosse

In Chris Robinson's second season as coach, a transformed McDonogh has risen to the top of the IAAM A Conference



When Chris Robinson took over McDonogh's girls lacrosse team last season, the Eagles were coming off an 8-13-2 season with only one win against an A Conference team.

At that point, Robinson, who had coached Mount Hebron to five straight state titles, found the Eagles eager to learn his style of coaching and set their program on the upswing. Nobody expected it to rise so fast.

Last season, the Eagles won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A2 Conference, going 17-2 overall and 4-2 against opponents in the elite A1 Conference. After Friday's win over Roland Park, the No. 2 Eagles improved to 14-0 and stand in first place in the recombined A Conference, the area's toughest league.

"They took to things really quickly and jumped on board," Robinson said of the Eagles. "Fortunately we had some immediate success and that just kind of snowballed and built up some confidence, and they're just really working hard and are receptive to everything."

Robinson, the All-Metro Coach of the Year in 1999, brought a style of play built on speed, aggressive defense and set offense that has made No. 1 Mount Hebron a national powerhouse for more than a decade and helped it win 13 state titles.

"[Robinson] just had so much experience and so much success in the past and he knows where to put people, what to do with the talent," said senior midfielder Kim Dubansky, who will play next year at Johns Hopkins and is one of five Eagles headed for Division I programs, along with Jenna Block (Yale), Casey Pugatch (Vanderbilt), Melanie Hilbush (Georgetown) and Caitlin Webb (Boston University).

Robinson said the team has improved since last season, although he never would have predicted that the Eagles would be undefeated with two A Conference games remaining.

"I definitely see a huge progression in the second year," Robinson said. "Our stick skills are better. Our defense is that much stronger a year later that we understand what slides need to happen and how to play off the ball. Offensively, they've got the concept of when to go to goal and when to dish off. We had some tremendous athletes but not necessarily tremendous lacrosse players. Now they're really developing into great lacrosse players, which is really neat to see."

The wait is over

Members of the Franklin boys lacrosse team were primed for what they believed would be an upset at Dulaney on April 7, when the Indians were slated to visit their Baltimore County rivals for an early-season showdown.

While the Lions had been struggling, having lost twice, including a 14-1 loss to private school power Boys' Latin, the Indians had been clicking on all cylinders on the way to victories in their first four games.

But the contest was postponed due to a wet field and a forecast of an afternoon thunderstorm. The rain had not arrived by the scheduled game time, however, leading some in the Indians' camp to imply that the Lions were wary of losing.

"We heard that," said Dulaney coach Gary Schreiber, addressing the rumors. "I can't help that the game was pushed back, but it did help us."

The rescheduled contest will be played this afternoon at Dulaney, winner of five of the past six Class 4A-3A state titles. The Lions have not lost to a county team since a 10-6 loss to Hereford in May 1999, a span of 68 games.

Although the defending Class 4A-3A state champion Lions lost the bulk of their team to graduation, they are led, offensively, by midfielders Nikk Davis, Eric Keppeler and Tim Purcell, attackmen Matt Lafferty, Augie Bauer, Andrew Fisher and Rich Romanelli, and second midfielders Jay Mann and Cody Lehrer.

Jeff Breeding, 6-foot-6 Chip Lanser, Tyler Kiddy and goalie Geoff Hebert lead the defense.

Although Franklin goalie Geordy Clements has anchored a team that has allowed on average of fewer than seven goals, the Indians simply have been outscoring their rivals.

Franklin's high-scoring attack is led by Tommy Montanye, Jesse Headley and Matt Higgins, plus midfielders Mike Higgins, Matt Woods, David Borcik and Rob Broczkowski. The Indians have averaged nearly 14 goals.

Holmes signs

Woodlawn's Markus Holmes, a 6- 2, 210-pound defensive end and outside linebacker, has signed a national letter of intent to play football next year at Bowie State.

Holmes became the third Woodlawn football player to sign, following Douglass Richburg, who will play at Delaware State, and Femi Ajewole, who is headed for Lehigh.

Holmes also was a member of Woodlawn's basketball team, which dethroned rival Randallstown for this year's Baltimore County title.

Kridel to coach U-19

Bryn Mawr girls lacrosse coach Wendy Kridel has been selected to coach the U.S. Under-19 team for a third straight time.

Kridel coached the U.S. team that won the 2003 International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations' U-19 world championship in 2003 with a 21-8 win over Australia at Towson University. She also led the U.S. to the title in 1999 in Perth, Australia.

Under her leadership, the U-19 team is 14-0 in international competition. She also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. team that won the silver medal in 1995.

Kridel has coached the Mawrtians since 1997 and has also coached at Towson and Roland Park. Her career coaching record at the high school level is 160-38-4 through Friday's Bryn Mawr victory over Friends.



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