Maryvale players say that the team's rise to prominence has gone hand in hand with the emergence of goalie Angie Tamberino.
After getting her first taste of varsity experience last season, the senior quickly has blossomed into one of the premier netminders in the area.
Yesterday against Bryn Mawr, she once again showed how a few good saves can mean the difference in a game.
In what she called her best performance of the season, Tamberino stopped 14 shots, including many from close range and in crucial situations, to help the ninth-ranked Lions to a 9-5 win over the host Mawrtiansin an Association of Independent Schools A Division East game.
With less than a week left in the regular season, the victory strengthened Maryvale's hopes of getting one of the top two seeds in the East and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Lions coach Mary Clare McFadden said the difference in the game was the performance of her goalie.
"Angie came up really big today," said McFadden, who added that Tamberino has stepped up since learning to come out of the crease. "Last year she would never come out, but one day she came out and she was really successful. It was like a totally different Angie."
Said Tamberino: "I'm taking more chances [coming out of the crease], but I'm also seeing more of the ball."
Throughout yesterday's game, Tamberino didn't hesitate to move from the goal, coming out to play shots and to pounce on ground balls.
She did some of her best work at a key moment in the game. After the Mawrtians (5-6 overall, 2-3 in the league), who had trailed 4-0 early, scored the final three goals of the half to get within one, they threatened to take command of the game early in the second half.
They got off four point-blank shots in the first three minutes, and Tamberino stopped all four. Maryvale (8-1-1, 4-1-1) then took that momentum and scored three straight times to put the game out of reach.
"We were putting it at her feet, and she was stopping everything," said Bryn Mawr coach Libby Davis, whose team had its three-game winning streak stopped. "We took a lot of shots, but we didn't place them very well."
Maggie Litz led the Lions with four goals and teammate Meghan Doyle added two. Litz said that having a hot goalie in the nets boosts the team's confidence.
"We know she'll be there to back us up," said Litz. "Everybody has confidence in her. She's improved so much since the start of the year."