Coffey helps North continue its dominance in Under Armour girls game

North team takes commanding lead in second half thanks to play of Penn State-bound Coffey

July 02, 2011|By Matt Castello, The Baltimore Sun

With her North team leading the South by four goals with four minutes remaining in Saturday's Girls Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic, Tatum Coffey maintained her composure as a double team rushed toward her.

After tallying five goals — all unassisted — the midfielder from Toms River, N.J., sat one goal shy of tying the single game mark set last year by Kaitlyn Brosco, a tidbit she was unaware of at the time.

Coffey, who would be named the game's MVP, looked up and connected with a wide-open Lindsay Toppe on the left side of the fan. Toppe drove toward the crease and pocketed the game's final goal with 3:49 left as the North team dominated second half action, outscoring the South eight to three in the last half, to capture the Classic for the fifth time in six years, 15-10, at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson.

"I didn't even know that," Coffey, who became the fourth girl to score at least five goals in the game, said of the record. "I found out after. I was like 'I should have gotten seven then.'

"No, I'm just kidding. It was more like we're down and need to pick it up, basically. At halftime it was a 7-7 game, so I'm like start of a new game. Let's go."

Looking for its first win since 2007, the South team was unable to pull away from a feisty North side in the first half, despite a 19 to 11 advantage in shots taken. Harvard bound North goalie Kelly Weis made six saves in the opening 30 minutes, a major reason as to why the teams entered halftime tied.

Carol Rose, the coach of the North team, installed five different types of offenses over the course of two two-hour practices on Friday, the lone day the teams practiced. Her decision to implement multiple strategies to account for a variety of defenses — including face-guarding, man-to-man and zone — proved to be a wise one as her squad prevailed by the largest margin of victory in the six-year series.

Before halftime, it appeared the South had a good chance to protect its home turf. Taylor Trimble converted a free position shot for her second goal to give the South a 7-6 lead with 1:50 remaining in the first half. However, that would be the last lead for the South side.

The North dominated possession in the last half, scoring eight goals on 13 shots, due mainly to an overwhelming nine to three advantage on draws.

Nicole Graziano, one of four players on the North team headed to the University of Florida this fall, notched three goals.

Along with Trimble, Annie Thomas (John Carroll) and Jen Cook (McDonogh) each scored two goals in the losing effort. Thomas and Cook will continue their collegiate careers locally at Loyola and Maryland, respectively.

Coffey, a defensive minded midfielder on the U-19 U.S. National team who will play at Penn State, considered the game to be the "most fun she's ever had playing lacrosse."

It showed.

"She's outstanding. She's a warrior," Rose said of Coffey. "She's all over the field with a smile on her face. She's everywhere, she does everything — offense, defense, runs the midfield, was winning draws. She deserved the MVP. She had a great game."

xcxmcastello@baltsun.com

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