From left to right: Brooke Griffin, the Baltimore Sun's… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kim…)
For a game in which back-line muscle couldn't do much to stop attacking might, it was perhaps appropriate that an unexpected defensive stop proved the difference in Saturday's Girls Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic.
After a rare takeaway just past the draw circle by North midfielder Bre Hudgins (Brown) at Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium, attacker Jen Devito (Yale) beat goalie Barb Black (St. Paul's) with nine seconds remaining for the last of a record 33 combined goals in a 17-16 North win.
Brooke Griffin (South River), The Baltimore Sun Player of the Year, scored a go-ahead goal with just over three minutes remaining, but the Maryland-dominated South squad surrendered a 16-15 advantage as the North scored two goals in the final 38 seconds to take its fourth win in the Classic's five-game history.
"I think they just got lucky on us," said Griffin, who finished with a team-high three goals and one assist and is headed to Maryland. "We should've won. It was our turn to win this year."
It certainly seemed that way. The North side led for only 45 seconds in the second half, and after a North goal tied the game at 15 late in the half, North Carolina-bound attacker Paige Hanson (Bryn Mawr) found Griffin open on the doorstep. Griffin took care of it calmly, and it seemed the South's record-breaking 16th goal would be enough after it won the ensuing draw.
"I thought that was going to be it," Griffin said.
But a rushed shot on goal from South attacker Hannah Franklin (McDonogh), who will attend Georgetown in the fall, handed possession back to the North. Midfielder Taylor D'Amore (Johns Hopkins) scored seconds later to pull the North even, and Hudgins' game-changing play near midfield as the crowd counted down to zero gave the North another victory.
"We showed that we could've won and should've won," Hanson said. "It's unfortunate we didn't."
The South didn't lose for a lack of scoring. More than 11 minutes remained when an underhand goal from attacker Mackenzie Cyr (Winters Mill) broke the game's combined scoring record of 27goals, and Griffin's eventual go-ahead tally set a then-record for goals by a team — only to be broken in heartbreaking fashion minutes later.
"Everyone here is good, so it was a different kind of team than I'm used to playing," said Hanson, who set a Classic record with four assists.
"It's awesome playing with them," Griffin said of her high school rivals turned teammates, "and not against them."
The burden of defending the explosive South side fell partly on Lyndsey Munoz (St. Mary's). The Stanford-bound goalie, who was the lone representative from the state of Maryland on the North team, experienced an unpleasant bit of deja vu as the high school rivals who had tested her for years in high school did so again Saturday. Only this time, they were often on the same line.
"All of a sudden, you see their face and it's like, 'Oh, yeah, I know you and you and you,'" Munoz said, laughing. "And they're all coming at me."
Saturday, she didn't mind it one bit.
"I'm perfectly fine getting a win."