The momentum had clearly swung to Notre Dame Prep late in the first half yesterday at Roland Park. Sparked by Sheehan Stanwick, the Pirates scored four of five to slice the Roland Park lead to one.
But then came the second half.
Top-ranked Roland Park held No. 12 Notre Dame Prep scoreless for more than 17 minutes midway through the game, and Elizabeth Rodgers sparked a six-goal run as the Reds clinched the Association of Independent Schools A Division East League title with a 16-9 victory.
The victory gives Roland Park (10-1, 5-0) the home-field advantage throughout the AIS playoffs -- unless the Reds make the title game, set for Park. Roland Park is going for its fifth straight AIS title.
Roland Park quickly took command yesterday by scoring on six of its first seven shots for a 6-2 lead 11 minutes into the game. But Stanwick -- who finished with seven goals and one assist -- cut the Roland Park lead to 7-6 with 4:15 left with three straight goals.
But the Pirates didn't score for the next 17:34. Rodgers (four goals, two assists) got a key score 2.6 seconds before halftime off a feed from Lizzy Bennett (one goal, two assists). That put the Reds in a better frame of mind at the break.
"We wanted to take it right to them in the second half," said Rodgers. "We were playing really tentative."
The Reds changed everything in the second half. They held the ball for most of the first six minutes of the half and scored on their first four shots.
By the time Notre Dame Prep (8-1-1, 3-1-1) could get going, the Reds had scored five straight and taken command with a 13-6 lead.
"We had the ball, we were wide open and we put it in the net," said Roland Park coach Wendy Kridel. "We had control of the ball."
Both sides agreed that, in addition to Rodgers' goal late in the first half, Hedy Born's goal 34 seconds into the second half was the key. Born (two goals, three assists) took a Kelly Sloan (two goals, one assist) feed and scored.
Said Kridel: "It was just enough of a spark."
Roland Park -- which also got two goals from Page Watts (two assists), Nicole Rock and Erin McInnes -- scored seven of the first eight goals of the second half. In addition, the Reds stepped up their defensive pressure.