After beating top-ranked Notre Dame Prep Tuesday, No. 5 St. Mary's did not have enough left for a repeat performance yesterday against No. 2 Roland Park.
The Saints struggled with their connections and the host Reds capitalized on the mistakes to take a 12-7 victory in an Association of Independent Schools A Division Lears League game.
Alli Harper scored four goals and Lauren Miller, Erin McInnes and Ashley Zink had two each as the Reds made their bid for the No. 1 ranking.
At 3-0, the Reds (8-2) remain the only team unbeaten in the Lears League. St. Mary's (9-3) dropped to 3-1 and a second-place tie with Notre Dame Prep.
"After our big game with NDP, I think we took these guys a little lighter than we should have," said Saints defender Kristen Hagert. "Every game in the AIS is a huge game, and we need to be up for all of them, but we came out flat."
Kristin Raneri set the tone for a fine defensive game as Reagan Raneri, Meghan Kelly, Allison Michels and Natalie Rothemund also made exceptional plays.
A few seconds after Kristin Raneri's first check and steal, Miller converted on a crease roll.
The Saints needed less than a minute to tie, though, because Tiffany Schummer fed Katie Robinson off the draw. That 1-1 would be the game's last tie. Saints turnovers helped Miller, Harper and McInnes run the Reds' lead to 4-1.
McInnes extended the edge to 5-1 after picking off goalie Jen Corradini's clear, beating a couple defenders and dodging the back-pedaling Corradini for an open-net goal 7: 50 before the half.
The Saints cut the score to 5-3 by halftime on goals from Schummer and Kellie Thompson. Corradini, who finished with 14 saves, helped with a point-blank save against Elizabeth Ryan.
But the Saints missed too many connections to get any closer.
The Reds controlled 15 of 21 draws, as well as most of the ground balls. In the second half, they outshot the Saints, 21-9, and limited St. Mary's to just two shots in the first 19 minutes.
Both of those shots scored, but by then the Reds already had scored two.
Then Roland Park poured it on with five goals in 12 minutes. They won four of five draws in the series, and Zink's free-position goal put them up 12-6 with 2: 15 to go.
"We knew draw control was going to be a huge thing, because we heard about the NDP game and how that went," said Reds coach Tara Kramer of the Saints' 14-13 victory, in which they won most of the draws. "We knew possession was going to be the key."
The Reds, who have beaten three top-five teams, will see whether they can maintain their edge when they play host to Notre Dame Prep at 3: 45 p.m. Tuesday.
Pub Date: 4/18/97