Arundel women claim title

Pioneers use speed to edge defending NJCAA champs in 2nd half

Anne Arundel CC 9 CCBC-Catonsville 5


On its wind-swept field in Arnold, Anne Arundel Community College blew away the opposition in the second half to win the National Junior College Athletic Association women's lacrosse championship yesterday.

After trailing at halftime, the Pioneers shifted their running game into high gear to dethrone the two-time defending titlist, CCBC-Catonsville, 9-5, in their fourth meeting of the season.

"Last year, we lost in two overtimes [in the title game], so we knew we had to play hard. We didn't want that to happen again," said Pioneers sophomore Melissa Line (Southern-AA), who scored four goals and was named the most valuable offensive player of the two-day tournament.

"Even though we were down by 1 at half, we knew we were the better team, so we kept our composure," Line said.

It was a classic matchup of speed versus deliberation or as Anne Arundel coach Jim Griffiths phrased it, "the two most opposite styles you can imagine."

Catonsville's preference for slowdown offense and gritty defense dominated the first 30 minutes, thanks in part to its control of all six draws. The Cardinals (14-3) took a 3-2 lead into the break with Emilie Melka (Mount de Sales) accounting for two of their goals.

But the good fortune didn't last. Top-seeded Anne Arundel (16-2) held its own on the second-half draws, ball-hawked successfully and tightened up on defense. Within an eight-minute span, the Pioneers scored five times, widened the lead to 9-4 and then coasted to their third win of the season against their nearby rival.

"We did everything we were supposed to in the first half, but you can't drop passes and lose ground balls like we did after halftime," Cardinals coach Tom Taylor said. "They've got the wheels and ours can't match them. We have to control the clock and the ball to beat them."

Said Griffiths, "Overall, we just did a better job of everything in the second half."

Anne Arundel goalie Kristine Schafer (Glen Burnie) was named the most valuable defensive player of the weekend and teammates Kristin Distad (South River), Sarah Maggio (Annapolis), Kaitlin Davis (St. Mary's) and Jennifer Bohannan (Annapolis) were chosen for the all-tournament team.

Catonsville's all-tournament picks were Kandice Schroeder (Catholic), Danielle Nickles (Eastern Tech), Jennifer Witowski (Parkville) and Haley Carmack.

In the consolation game, Herkimer (N.Y.) CC defeated Cayuga (N.Y.) CC, 16-8.

Catonsville 3 2 - 5

Anne Arundel 2 7 - 9

Goals: C-Melka 2, Carmack, Noble, Schroeder; AA-Line 4, Bohannan 2, Davis, Napolitano, Sorensen. Assists: C-Witowski; AA-Davis. Saves: C-Sterrett 9; AA-Schafer 5.

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