Having to limp off the Meadowood Park field with an injured knee in the middle of the game against archrival Notre Dame Prep last season, Maryvale senior goalie Caroline Federico was standing tall after leading the Lions to an 8-6 lacrosse victory over the Blazers on Thursday afternoon in Towson.
Her 14 saves and standout performances from defenders Lauren Hudson, Lizzie Piet, Maggie Huey, Emma Boris and Julie Doyle, who also produced two goals, made the difference against NDP (4-11, 4-6 league) in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference contest.
"Overall as a team, we just came to play," said Federico, whose twin, Anne, scored four goals for the Blazers in last year's battle, also won by Maryvale. "I was definitely seeing the ball well today."
And she didn't have to watch any of Anne's shots, either, because her sister is not playing lacrosse this spring. Instead, Anne decided to concentrate on field hockey, the sport she will play at Davidson College in the fall.
Not that Caroline missed feeling the pressure of competing against her twin.
"It was a lot nicer, and a lot less tense," she said with a laugh. "Anne's an amazing lacrosse player and even more amazing in field hockey. I love to watch her play."
Even without Anne, NDP did not go down easily. The Blazers hustled and scrapped for every loose ball and recovered from an early 3-1 deficit to draw even, 4-4, early in the second half on junior midfielder Katie Willis' second goal of the game.
Maryvale (10-3, 7-3) which went long stretches without the ball, jumped back on top on senior midfielder Emma Tizard's free position goal with 18:39 to go. Sophomore midfielder Miranda Ibello then bolted through the 8-meter arc for a 6-4 lead a couple of minutes later.
After the Blazers countered on junior midfielder Caroline Drusano's goal, the play of the game began with a wild scramble for possession around the Blazer goal, and the ball ended up with attacker Elena McWright. The junior then turned and fired a perfect strike to Doyle, who caught the ball in full stride and rifled a shot past NDP sophomore goalie Ellie Aburn (7 saves) for a 7-5 advantage at the 10:15 mark.
With just over two minutes to go, Tizard converted a feed from senior Amanda Bochniak to secure the win.
"I think they just decided they wanted to win," Maryvale coach Jessica Randisi said about her team's ability to overcome an inspired opponent and a slow start. "And Caroline was on fire today."
NDP coach Mary Bartel said that while her team's record is disappointing, the Blazers are "better than we were two weeks ago, and better than we were a week ago. We're doing the basics better — and we believe in ourselves more."