Gators team up to bounce Saints

St. Paul's 9 St. Mary's 3

Girls lacrosse

High Schools


St. Paul's girls lacrosse team turned a game of keep-away into a trip to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship game yesterday.

In a masterful display of ball movement, the No. 4 Gators eluded constant double and triple teams from No. 5 St. Mary's for most of the final 10 minutes to hold onto the ball and a 9-3 semifinal victory.

The Gators, the 2004 A Conference champions, will meet No. 2 McDonogh for the crown tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field. McDonogh beat No. 8 Roland Park, 12-10 in overtime, in the other semifinal on Thursday.

Less than two weeks ago, the Gators edged St. Mary's, 9-8, in a down-to-the-wire contest, but in yesterday's second half, the defending champion Saints simply could not get the ball. St. Paul's scored four goals in the first 12 minutes of the half and, with a six-goal lead, possession was more important than another goal.

"We weren't trying to stall, but if you can keep them from getting the ball then they can't catch up," said Gators midfielder Kirsten Goldberg, who scored two second-half goals on feeds from Caity Whiteley.

"A lot of our games have come down to one goal and we've always had to be able to swing it and hold onto the ball as long as we could until the end," said senior attack Blake Hargest, who gave the Gators the 9-3 lead on a feed from Ellen Cook with 13:42 left in the game. Using their speed, poise and precision passing as well as a few lucky bounces, the Gators (17-2) used time as the Saints (16-5) pursued them all over their attacking end. Despite the constant pressure, the Gators turned the ball over only twice.

"In practice, we always have our defense double us and we know that's what we have to look out for against McDonogh," said Hargest, "so we know how to move the ball under pressure. That definitely showed we can do it - and that was a long time, too."

Saints coach Sue Chittim, however, had no doubt that the Gators were stalling. "It was a very interesting choice to stall that early," Chittim said. "[St. Paul's coach Mitch Whiteley] knows what talent I have on this team - he gives us the ball, we score."

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