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Towson Times top sports stories of 2011

Making Friends (Feb. 11)

There was no championship on the line, or anything to play for other than to send its senior star and the delirious "Quaker Crazies" — the moniker for die hard Friends basketball fans — home happy on Senior Night.

And somehow that's exactly what happened with the crowd helping to carry Jon Schmidt off the court during an emotional celebration after a stunning 54-53 victory over Severn.

Schmidt, who scored a game-high 27 points in the finale of a brilliant career, was held aloft by celebrating fans in the mob scene after one of the wildest wins in school history.

"It's the best way you can possibly go out," said Schmidt, who is now playing for Brown University, after scoring 14 points in the riveting final eight minutes. "We never stopped believing."

Neither did the crowd in a jam-packed "Quaker Dome," where FNB — Friday Night Basketball — has become a not-to-be-missed event.

Considering Friends fell behind by 19 points with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, it looked like the night would end like so many other games had in a six-win season.

Thanks to Schmidt's heroics, the Quakers' season ended on an up note.

Miracle moment (May 17)

In a not-to-be-believed sequence, the Gilman lacrosse team scored three goals — while down a man — in 35 seconds to send the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal to overtime in what turned out to be a 7-6 victory over Boys' Latin.

Towson Times Players of the Year Ryan Tucker and Conor Doyle notched the goals for the Greyhounds, who went on to beat Calvert Hall, 13-8, in the final at Towson University.

Tucker, who scored three of the final four goals, rippled the net in overtime to give Gilman its third one-goal triumph of the season over the hard-luck Lakers.

On the tying goal with 27 seconds left in regulation, Tucker was swarmed by BL defenders before somehow getting off a crisp shot.

In OT, with teams finally at even strength, Tucker made a quick move to his right to gain separation from his defender and rifled a rocket into the goal.

Gridiron classic (Nov. 18)

Gilman and Calvert Hall have staged some memorable football games over the last two seasons, and the inaugural MIAA A Conference final was no exception.

The Greyhounds prevailed, 34-32, in double overtime to take back the title the Cardinals had taken from them in 2010.

The game featured a six-play, 69-yard drive directed by Calvert Hall senior quarterback Thomas Stuart that knotted the score, 20-20, with 28 seconds remaining in regulation on an 18-yard pass from Stuart to senior Brandon Neverdon.

In the end, despite two more Stuart touchdown passes, two scores and a two-point conversion by senior running back Cyrus Jones were enough to get Gilman over the hump.

Reds' revenge (May 12)

After being tormented by losses — including a 15-9 drubbing three weeks earlier — to archrival Bryn Mawr on the lacrosse field, Roland Park Country School ended four years of frustration with an improbable victory.

The 12-11 triumph was even sweeter because it denied the Mawrtians a trip to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference final and advanced the Reds to the championship match for the first time since 2004.

Led by senior midfield star Caroline Seats' monster year (47 goals, 31 assists), Roland Park's offense was a thing of beauty as it paved the way to a championship berth by stepping over nemesis Bryn Mawr.

The Reds came close to winning it all before bowing to McDonogh, 18-17, the nation's top-ranked team and three-year reigning conference champion.

Homer happy (May 9)

Boys' Latin's Zach Davis more than atoned for previously leaving runners stranded in the game against Lutheran in a battle to see which team would qualify for the MIAA B Conference baseball playoffs.

Trailing, 11-8, in the 11th inning, the senior designated hitter crushed a one-out, 0-1 pitch well over the 16-foot-high fence in left-center field for a walk-off grand slam home run to give the Lakers a breathtaking 12-11 triumph over the Saints.

"I told coach (Bill Greenwell) I wanted to end the game right now," said Davis, a member of the Colgate University soccer team in the fall. "It was a great way to end it on senior day."

Although BL, which rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, did not prevail in the playoffs, for one game, at least, it was great to be a Laker.

Another county championship (Oct. 28)

Towson volleyball coach Emily Berman said her Generals didn't know what its like to lose a Baltimore County match.

Towson has been that dominant, winning 48 straight.

The Generals won their fourth straight county championship on Oct 28, sweeping rival Dulaney, 25-11, 25-23, 25-21.

Seniors Ally Teuten (28 assists, 3 kills), Lauren Bosse (7 kills, 3 blocks, 2 assists), Kelly Lacy (10 kills) and Hannah Wohltmann (2 aces, 3 kills, 3 blocks) powered Towson.

Beating Dulaney was just one win in racking up 17 straight for the Generals.

Unfortunately for Towson, its winning streak ended in the Class 3A state semifinals in College Park when

North Hagerstown won 25-23, 25-21, 25-23, 25-16.

That loss dashed the Generals' bid for a repeat appearance in the state championship. Still, the Towson senior class of Bosse, Lacy, Wohltmann and Teuten went 70-5 in their high school career.

"They should be proud," Towson coach Emily Berman said. "They have friends who have never won a county championship — they have won four. They have won three regional championships. They have so many accolades to be proud of that they are not going to remember that we lost in the state semifinals their senior year."

Erasing the pain (Feb 20)

Notre Dame Prep's players certainly didn't need any motivation when it came to reaching the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championship game.

The Blazers had lost in the 2010 final by a point.

NDP erased a year's worth of pain with a 47-44 victory over John Carroll. It was the Blazers' first title since 1999.

"They were all so excited," said NDP coach Katie Marks, the school's coach since 2006. "We kept talking about how the seniors deserved it so much, but they all deserved it, and everybody worked hard every single day."

Senior forwards Mary Kate Conway (17 points) and Covie Stanwick (10) and sophomore guard Sydney Tommins (10 points) had the best performances for the winners.

Depth carries NDP (Feb. 6)

Notre Dame Prep's swim team not only won a championship, but the Blazers also ended a dynasty.

They upended eight-time champion McDonogh in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland final, 452-415.

Loyola Blakefield Aquatics swimmers Mary Ellen Mangione (breast stroke, individual medley), Leigh Musselman (freestyle, back stroke) and Melissa Dorsch (free), sophomores Becca Meyers (free) and Christiana Salvatori (free), and freshman Kendall Krumenacker (free, back) and Summer Legambi (butterfly) led NDP.

"They have the strength, we have the depth," Blazers coach Terri Byrd said.

North Baltimore Aquatic Club members — sophomores KC Paltell (fly/breast), Liz Hampson (breast/fly) and Kathleen Godwin (breast/fly); and freshman Danielle Potis (individual medley) — added to the Blazers' power, as did Cardinal & Gold Aquatics stalwarts Lauren Zizwarek (free) and Becca Slezak (free/fly.

Six days earlier, NDP also beat Our Lady of Good Counsel, 443-297, to capture the National Catholic title.

For Bryn Mawr, it's a three-peat (Nov. 6)

Bryn Mawr became the only soccer team to ever capture three Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championships when the Mawrtians edged Severn, 2-1, at Gerstell Academy in Finksburg.

"The girls did a great job of accomplishing it," Bryn Mawr coach Tina Steck said. "It's pretty special to do it. Rarely do teams get an opportunity to repeat three times."

It's no surprise who keyed the third title: University of Maryland recruit Riley Barger.

She scored one goal and assisted on the other.

"Riley is a program changer," Steck said. "She does it unselfishly, but she steps up when she needs to."

Ellie DeGarmo also scored for the Mawrtians.

Bryn Mawr's defense of Abby Del Guercio, Kassandra Bowling, Nancy Dunbar and Tess Moran in front of goalie Zoe Derrickson tightened up late in the game to preserve the victory.

An athlete for all seasons (Oct 23)

No matter what season it was, Loch Raven senior runner Emily Ruppel shined.

Ruppel won a Baltimore County cross country title last fall and followed that performance up by capturing a Class 2A North Region crown, then placing third overall in the state championships.

Ruppel, who won a Class 1A state cross county title in 2010, also took to honors in the 3,200 in the county championships last May.

In the winter, she grabbed second in the 3,200.

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