The one thing No. 12 Maryvale cannot be without against No. 3 Roland Park is confidence.
Yesterday, the Lions had that confidence -- for about 11 minutes. After that, the Lions fell apart and visiting Roland Park rolled to a 12-2 victory in an Association of Independent Schools A Division East league game.
The four-time defending A Division champion Reds (3-0 overall, 1-0 league) played terrific double-teaming defense, came up with the loose balls, showed patience on attack and took advantage of a handful of Maryvale's defensive lapses.
On the other hand, the Lions (3-1-1, 0-1-1) did not help themselves much. They followed up almost every good play with a turnover or a defensive miscue.
"I think we just got out-psyched," said Maryvale coach Mary Clare McFadden. "We knew we were playing Roland Park and we let that beat us. We just felt too much pressure today and we put that pressure on ourselves."
The Lions stayed within striking distance early even though Elizabeth Rodgers and Ginnie Plitt gave Roland Park a quick 2-0 lead.
On a pass from Maggie Litz, Meghan McLaughlin scored against triple coverage to cut the Reds' lead to 2-1. Lizzy Bennett answered on a feed from Hedy Born to boost the Reds' edge back to two.
After Maryvale controlled the next draw, Meghan Doyle rolled the crease with a nifty move to turn inside on her defender for the easy shot. That brought the Lions within 3-2 with 14:17 to go in the half.
But the rest of the half -- and the rest of the game -- was all Roland Park. The Reds controlled four of the last five draws and scored four straight to finish the half.
Maryvale never got back in the game.
"The same thing happened to us last year," said Doyle. "We got ahead 3-1 and then all of a sudden we just went downhill. They scored five goals and we just lost confidence. I think our team just lacks a lot of confidence."
The Lions, who scored on two of their first three shots, managed just two more shots until the final 40 seconds of the first half. Litz hit the pipe on the first and then on her free-position shot with one second left, Reds goalie Melissa Coyne (eight saves) came up with the save.
The Reds had a balanced attack in which eight players scored and the team shot 12-of-20. Lizzy Bennett led the way with a goal and four assists while Rodgers had three goals and Born and Erin McInnes added two each.
The Reds also showed off an even sharper line defense from Ridgley Bennett, Meredith Shuey and Reagan Raneri. They held the Lions to 12 shots even though Doyle, McLaughlin and Katie Lafferty had combined to average almost 11 goals through their first four games.