For top-ranked Roland Park, it was a perfect ending to the perfect season.
The Reds dominated the Association of Independent Schools A Division earlier this decade, winning five straight championships from 1991-1995. They've been away for two years but completed their return to the top yesterday.
Betsy Gaines and Erin McInnes helped Roland Park rally from a slow start to defeat No. 2 Notre Dame Prep, 12-8, for the AIS A Division championship at St. Timothy's. The Reds scored five straight goals in just under three minutes midway through the game to take control and finish their season in style -- unbeaten at 22-0.
Gaines led the Reds with four goals, and McInnes scored three more and assisted on yet another.
Roland Park started slowly and trailed for parts of the first half, finding that doing much without the ball is difficult. But they eventually rallied and took control.
From the start yesterday, Notre Dame Prep (14-2), which lost to Roland Park earlier this season by 13-3, made this game different.
Lauren Aumiller (three goals, one assist) helped the Pirates win the first nine draws, keep possession for long periods, and lead three times in the first half.
"We knew they were going to come out pretty strong," said Roland Park coach Tara Kramer. "But we stuck with it."
Aumiller gave the Pirates a 5-3 lead on a free position shot with 6: 50 left in the half.
But that's when the Reds began to turn things around. Kramer began alternating Gaines, McInnes and Kelsey Twist on the draws; the Reds won four straight, and the goal-scoring spree began.
Whitney Jamison made a nice feed to Twist, who scored with 2: 22 left. Elizabeth Ryan took a pass from Kristin Sudina (one goal, one assist) and tied it with 1: 16 left. The Reds again won the draw, and 17 seconds later, McInnes found Gaines, who scored from close in. Then, with two seconds remaining, Lauren Miller (one goal, two assists) scored yet again for a 7-5 halftime lead.
Gaines won the second-half opening draw and, 23 seconds later, ran the Reds' lead to 8-5 after going straight to the goal before shooting. Notre Dame Prep cut its deficit to two goals once after that but never drew closer.
"That definitely helps, when you go on a run," said McInnes. "We just definitely had to keep it up early."
Roland Park goalie Meghan McInnes made 14 saves and her defense played a strong game. Twist did a good job on Aumilller, and Meghan Kelly limited Wick Stanwick to just one goal after shutting her out in the earlier game.
"The ball was on our defensive side most of the game," said Kelly. "We kept them from getting good shots off."
Notre Dame Prep coach Mary Bartel liked her team's effort but realized the Pirates had their chances.
rTC "We couldn't find the goal cage," said Bartel. "I thought we had a lapse there [in the middle], but I'm very proud of them."
Pub Date: 5/16/98