Loch Raven coach Lou Menegatti had heard the hype and even seen some of the results. Heading into yesterday's Baltimore County championship game, Dulaney's offense had outscored opponents, 129-11, leaving a trail of broken dreams and deflated egos.
Menegatti knew there was only one way to stop the Lions' juggernaut -- to never let it get started.
The host and No. 10 Raiders did just that en route to a 2-0 win, jumping out to a lead and thwarting every scoring opportunity from the sixth-ranked Lions.
"We knew Dulaney had blown out Perry Hall in the first 10 minutes [in its 10-0 win last week], so we felt it was very important for us to score first," Menegatti said. "It would have been hard for us if we didn't."
The win gave Loch Raven its second county title in three years, while denying Dulaney its eighth in the past nine.
Perhaps even more importantly, however, it provided the Raiders with an extra dose of confidence heading into the regional playoffs, which start today.
"This definitely helps our confidence," said forward Robyn Harry, who scored the Raiders' first goal. "We didn't even get to the counties last year because we lost to Towson. I think if we beat Dulaney, we can probably beat most teams."
Loch Raven begins regional play today against Catonsville, and Dulaney plays Parkville. Both teams are top seeds in their regions and looked to yesterday's game as a warm-up for tournament play.
The game was played evenly most of the way, with both teams taking 15 shots and using the gusty winds to their advantage.
The wind played a major role in the Raiders' first-half success, as they constantly sailed high kicks deep into Dulaney's zone. They took a 1-0 lead when Mary Edwards sent a long, wind-aided kick through the Lions' defense to the waiting foot of Harry, who found the far corner with 14:53 left in the half.
Loch Raven then made it 2-0 22:24 into the second half when Anne Marie Murphy came up with a loose ball 12 yards out and beat goalie Kate Szper to her right.
The Lions had several chances to score, but their best came with about 10 minutes left on Abby Bausman's penalty kick. But Loch Raven goalie Terry Hendricks rose to the challenge, blocking the kick with her body and sending the dejected Lions to the regionals on a sour note.
For Dulaney coach Kathy Schmidt, the task now is to help her team forget about yesterday and prepare for the playoffs.
"You have to point out to them where there were opportunities they didn't take advantage of," Schmidt said. "The opportunities were there all day. The reason Loch Raven won is because they took advantage of theirs."