St. Paul's struggled to put the ball past Bryn Mawr goalie Ellie DeGarmo in the first half , but once the Gators attack started moving the ball more and looking low, they managed just enough goals to pull the upset in Tuesday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference girls lacrosse game.
Samantha Fine scored the game winner on a feed from Haley McDonnell with 2 minutes, 48 seconds left in the game to give the No. 7 Gators a 10-9 victory over No. 2 Bryn Mawr.
Fine said she's always looking for the pass from McDonnell, who finished with four goals and five assists.
"That's one of our plays, the draw and dump, and we can always depend on Haley to get that assist," Fine said. "It wasn't really planned. We just kind of count on each other."
The last time the Gators (6-2, 5-1 conference) beat the Mawrtians, in 2006, they went on to win the A Conference tournament championship. Bryn Mawr (5-3, 4-2) had won seven straight since then, but in 2006, the Gators won both the regular-season meeting and the tournament quarterfinal game en route to their last title.
"It's a very big win," Fine said. "We've never beaten them while we were in high school and it solidifies our place as No. 2 (in the A Conference standings). We're really excited. Especially for the seniors, it's been a long time coming."
With DeGarmo making nine of her 11 saves in the first half, the Mawrtians got the early jump with a three-goal run for a 4-2 lead. The last two of Molly Danko's three goals gave Bryn Mawr a 6-4 halftime lead.
Things started to change just after the half when Fine fed McDonnell and then McDonnell fed Amanda Sutor to tie the score at 6. Coach Brooke Kuhl-McClelland's Gators won seven of 10 draws in the second half, which helped them outshoot the Mawrtians, 11-6.
Moving the ball to keep DeGarmo off balance made the Gators more efficient with their shots.
"A lot of us have played with Ellie on club teams or in rec before," McDonnell said, "and she's very talented. We mainly noticed that she's pretty good up top and we were shooting high, so basically we just needed to be able to move her and shoot low if we could, just trying to get better angles."
Georgia Carroll gave Bryn Mawr its last lead at 8-7 with 14:28 to go, but McDonnell answered with a free-position goal then fed Fine for an extra-man goal and a 9-8 lead with 8:31 left. Bryn Mawr's Kate Snouffer tied it on a free position with 6:35 to go.
In the final 3:50, the Mawrtians turned the ball over twice but still had a chance to tie after they pressured St. Paul's into a turnover on the end line. The Mawrtians had to go the entire length of the field and the Gators kept the pressure on, forcing a turnover in the midfield with 10.5 seconds remaining.
"We just rushed it a little too much and tried to force it down (field) when we had enough time to get it down and get settled," Snouffer said. "I think we just got a little frazzled. We're a young team and we haven't really worked hard on transitions at the end of the game, being in that moment. It was a good lesson for us."
Goals: SP—McDonnell 4, Fine 2, Wells 2, Braig, Sutor; BM—Danko 3, Knott, Ferrell, Feiss, Joy, Carroll, Snouffer. Assists: SP—McDonnell 5, Fine, Liotta; BM—Snouffer, Knott. Saves: SP—Carerra 4; BM—DeGarmo 11. Half: BM, 6-4.