St. Paul's upsets McDonogh, 10-7, for `A' title

Girls lacrosse


St. Paul's goalie Lidia Sanza played on the Gators' championship girls lacrosse team two years ago and she was determined to put that same finishing touch on her high school career.

Last night, Sanza made 11 saves and frustrated a potent McDonogh attack as the No. 4 Gators upset the No. 2 Eagles, 10-7, for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference crown before about 1,000 at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field.

"I really wanted this for my senior year," said Sanza, one of 11 Gators seniors. "It feels a lot different [than two years ago]. It just feels more special. It's my last time ever with these people and on this field. It's so cool."

The Eagles took 25 shots - 11 more than the Gators - but Sanza vacuumed up most of those that came close to her, forcing the Eagles to aim for the corners, where they missed more than they hit.

"The difference in the game was just Lidia Sanza was on fire," Eagles coach Chris Robinson said. "She not only made some great saves but disrupted our offense."

Sanza knew all about the Eagles shooters, and not just from McDonogh's 6-5 win earlier in the season.

"I kept telling myself, `Watch the ball,' because I play on a club team with a lot of them," said Sanza, "so I anticipated and I was just not going to let anything in."

The Gators (18-2) showed off a balanced, efficient offense. They missed only four shots.

With the Eagles defense keying on Caity Whiteley, Sarah Seats scored three goals and Whiteley had three assists. Ellen Cook, Kirsten Goldberg and Ashley Holofcener each scored twice.

"I would think it would be hard to plan against us, because we have so many kids who can step it up. A lot of different teams have tried to cut Caity Whiteley off and that just opens it up for everybody else," Gators coach Mitch Whiteley said of his daughter.

The Eagles took a 3-1 lead, but Seats' free-position goal tied it and Cook, Goldberg and Seats finished off the half with a 6-3 lead.

McDonogh (18-2) cut the lead to 6-4 on Kira Paterakis' goal after halftime, but it never got closer.

Just as they had in their semifinal win over St. Mary's, the Gators stalled away much of the final 10 minutes.

Cook said the title was especially satisfying because the Gators hadn't gotten much attention.

"We knew we were under the radar the whole year," Cook said. "A lot of people were talking about [defending champion] St. Mary's and McDonogh coming up after winning the [A2] Conference, but we had so much motivation to show every body what we could do as a team. I've never played on a team like this that's so close."

B Conference

Jen Ries scored three goals, the last of which held up as the game winner as Park held off Garrison Forest for a 10-9 victory and the B Conference title.

The Grizzlies, the only B Conference team to beat Park this season, did start to come back, cutting the lead to one on Margo Josephs' goal with 23 seconds left. But the Bruins controlled the next draw and Sarah Gold ran out the clock.

"I just told my team, `Get me the ball and I'm running around the field,'" said Gold, a senior who finished with three goals and four assists. "With 23 seconds left, I just figured if I had the ball, they wouldn't catch me."

C Conference

Jordan Certeza scored on a feed from Caitlin Ward 23 seconds into double overtime to give Lutheran an 11-10 sudden-death victory over Catholic in the C Conference final.

"I didn't even know it was the game-winning goal," the freshman attacker said. "I thought we had another three minutes, but I guess it was better, because there was no pressure."

The Saints (12-4), who won only one game last season, got three goals and three assists from Certeza while Stephanie Parker led the Cubs (13-4) with five goals.

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