Making nine saves in the first half, Maryvale junior goalie Caroline Federico sent a strong message to kick-start a 9-7 victory over second-seeded Bryn Mawr in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinal Thursday afternoon.
The Lions will meet McDonogh on Sunday at Stevenson University at 3 p.m. in the championship game.
The defense playing in front Federico — seniors Kaylin Ziemna, Madison Oliver, Falnnery Carney and Justine Lago, junior Julie Doyle and sophomore Lauren Hudson — was just as proficient, limiting dodges from the top as the third-seeded Lions held the Mawrtians (15-2) to their second-lowest single game goal total of the season.
In addition to Federico's stellar first half, Bryn Mawr shooters hit the goal pipe four times in the first 25 minutes.
"I give credit to their defense for that," Bryn Mawr co-coach Kim Simons said. "They crash really well and jump you in the 8 (-meter arc). They make it really tough to get good looks inside. They're just play great team defense."
The Maryvale offense wasn't too shabby either, staking the visitors to a 5-0 lead in the first 15 minutes on a pair of goals by senior Carly Ross and one each by seniors Taylor Oliver and Sam Darcangelo and sophomore Elena McWright.
That's when Bryn Mawr pulled senior goalie Molly Wolf in favor of junior backup Ellie DeGarmo, as the Lions (13-3) took a 6-2 halftime advantage and eventually built the lead to 9-3 with 16:40. Then they tried their best control the Mawrtians' strong finishing kick.
With Wolf back in form in the second period, Bryn Mawr closed on a 4-0 run on single goals by Nancy Dunbar and Kassandra Bowling and two by fellow senior Erica Matz.
It just wasn't enough against a rival the Mawrtians edged, 12-11, on April 13.
"We were practicing (playing against) their offense all week," said Federico, who recovered from an injured knee to collect 11 saves in a 13-10 quarterfinal triumph over St. Paul's School for Girls on Tuesday. "Their whole offense is strong."
No practice could replicate Federico's two-save sequence in the final seconds of the first half when she turned away one shot and then stuffed Matz, who alertly snared the rebound, on the doorstep to keep the 6-2 lead intact.
"Caroline was amazing," said Ross, who is headed to the University of Florida with Darcangelo in the fall. "She always keeps us in the game. She's just a great all-around goalie."
Goals: M – Ross 3, Darcangelo 2, T. Oliver 1, Tizard 1, McWright 1, Ibello 1; BM – Bowling 2, Snouffer 2, Matz 2, Dunbar 1.
Assists: M – Aiello 3, Hesselbein 1, Bochniak 2, Tizard 1; BM – Snouffer 1, Dunbar 2.
Saves: M – Federico 13; BM – Wolf 5.
Half: M 6-2