The pressure that accompanies a high preseason ranking hasn't bothered Anne Arundel Community College's men's lacrosse team.
Instead, the Pioneers stayed undefeated Tuesday with an 18-14 win over visiting Essex CC.
North County graduate Andy Mocarsky had four goals and five assists for Anne Arundel (4-0), which has moved up from No. 5 to No. 3 in the nation among JuCo teams.
Scott Walstrum (four goals, one assist), Bruce Alexander (three, one), Craig McKenzie (three, two), Dave Livingston (one, two) and Maury LaPointe (six assists) also had productive nights.
Matt Pugh made 18 saves before being replaced by Steve Morgan (four saves) in the last four minutes.
Anne Arundel already had beaten Corning CC, which was ranked No. 5. Essex is No. 4, and the Pioneers' next game is Saturday against No. 2 Nassau CC.
"This is probably our toughest 10 to 12 games we've had in the last eight or 10 years," said co-head coach Bill Gorrow. "I told the guys that by April 11, we'll know a whole lot about ourselves."
Anne Arundel returned three players from last season -- All-Americans LaPointe, McKenzie and Livingston.
Anne Arundel opened its season Tuesday with a 10-7 victory at Catonsville CC.
Denise Perrone led Anne Arundel with three goals. Karen Chesley added two goals and two assists, and Robin Quinton had two goals and one assist. Michele Credno (one assist), Trish Davidson (one assist) and Jen Welsh each scored one goal.
Brandee Snyder made 10 saves. The Pioneers outshot Catonsville, 28-17.
"I was pretty happy with the defense, which is what we've been working on," said coach Jim Shuck.
He would like to see better shot selection, however. "Their keeper made 18 saves, and probably 11 were at the center of her stick or body," Shuck said.
Anne Arundel lost four 10-goal scorers from last season, but has retained four others -- Perrone, Chesley, Quinton and Credno.
Carrie Parsons pitched Anne Arundel to a 10-0 victory over Essex CC yesterday, giving up two hits, walking one and striking out eight. She's won all five of her starts and hasn't given up an earned run.
Parsons also collected two hits, including a three-run double in the second inning, as Anne Arundel improved to 11-0 overall, 6-0 in the league. She brought a .476 average into the game.
Alicia Conine walked three times and scored three runs, Jeannette Merrick went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored, Amanda Kopchinski went 1-for-2 with two runs scored, and Jen Miller had one hit, knocked in a run and scored twice.
Anne Arundel swept its third double-header Tuesday, downing visiting Prince George's CC, 11-1, 11-2.
Mandy McLaughlin (2-0) pitched the opener, allowing one hit and no earned runs in five innings. She walked two and struck out three.
Kopchinski was 3-for-3 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Conine was 2-for-2 with five RBIs and a run scored.
The Pioneers rapped 16 hits in the second game, and 10 players had at least one RBI. Kristie Rhinehart (two RBIs, two runs, two steals) and Merrick (two runs, two steals, one RBI) each had three hits. Chiara Lee went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, Teri Campbell went 2-for-2 with an RBI, Conine had a double, an RBI and a run scored, and Kendra Gottlich tripled and knocked in a run.
Angie Mihalik (4-0) went seven innings, scattering seven hits and striking out three.
"I'm excited by our start, and a little surprised," said coach Jim Hendricks. "I knew we had talent coming in, but the level of play is a little farther advanced than I thought it would be this time of year. [Assistant coach] Larry Alvis has done an incredible job with their hitting since Day 1, and our base running has been more aggressive."
Conine, an All-American, was batting .667 with 17 RBIs. Kopchinski was batting .583 with eight RBIs and seven runs scored. Rhinehart was batting .500 with 14 runs scored. Lee (.409), Merrick (.385, nine steals) and Amy Perry (.400, 11 RBIs, 11 runs, three doubles, two triples, one home run) also were off to sizzling starts. Brandi Pennington was batting .458.
Anne Arundel's Jim Greer led off yesterday's game with a home run, and Jimmy Taylor later added an RBI double, but it wasn't enough to prevent an 8-4 loss at Catonsville CC.
Mike Bussey (0-4) lasted 2 1/3 innings and was charged with six runs. Dave Glover replaced Bussey and gave up his first two runs of the season.
The Pioneers got a strong effort from pitcher Rob Thompson (1-0) in Tuesday's 18-1 win over Harford CC. Thompson went six innings, allowing just one hit and no runs and striking out four.
The Pioneers had 19 hits, including four by Todd Locklear (double, triple, two RBIs, three runs). Mike Fleming had two hits and four RBIs and scored twice. Chris Johnson added a two-run triple.
Brian Sands (2-2, 1.88 ERA) has given up 14 hits and five earned runs in 24 innings. He has walked nine and struck out 25.
Locklear brought a .355 average and 19 RBIs into yesterday's game. Jamie Stoddard was batting .395, and catcher Mike Cozzone had a .321 average.
Anne Arundel won its opening match Tuesday, shooting a 323 to defeat Charles CC (351) and Prince George's CC (361).
Kris Neimi and Matt Hoffman each shot a 79, and Fred Rider had an 80.