Using a tight marking defense and a strong first-half offensive surge, Annapolis' No. 2-ranked girls lacrosse team advanced to the finals with a 9-7 victory over No. 4-ranked Broadneck in a Class 4A-3A, Region IV semifinal last night in Annapolis.
With the score tied at 2-2 midway through the first half, the Panthers (13-1) rallied for five straight goals to take a lead they would never relinquish. Senior Shannon Cordell had two during the scoring spree and junior Cristi Samaras had a goal and an assist.
Broadneck senior Susie Goodrich got one of her two goals just before the half to cut the Panthers' lead to 7-3, but the hole would prove too deep for the Bruins (12-3).
"Our throwing and catching were a lot better tonight," said Broadneck coach LeAnn Shuck. "But we just gave up the ball too much. We'd get it off the draw and then drop it in front of the goal and you can't do that and expect to win."
To the Bruins credit, a lot of those turnovers were caused by the excellent play of the Panther defense. Panther coach Dave Gehrdes said his team played a good position defense and marked well the entire game. And when the Bruins attackers did get to the goal, junior goalkeeper Kate Brew was there to stop them, finishing with 10 saves.
Broadneck did make a run at Annapolis late in the game. The Panthers had a 9-4 lead with under six minutes to play when Susie Goodrich scored her second goal of the night. Senior Megan McEwen followed with a goal two minutes later and senior Melissa Montalto scored with 17 seconds left to play. But the Bruins ran out of time.
Annapolis' victory sets up a rematch with Severna Park on Tuesday for the region championship. The Falcons handed the Panthers their only loss of the season, and Gehrdes likes his team's chances.
"We need to control our offense a little more on Tuesday," Gehrdes said. "We forced too many passes last time and we weren't able to control the ball. Both teams are pretty familiar with each other so there's not much we can do differently, but right now I'm just happy to be there."