The No. 7-ranked Annapolis girls rolled over C. Milton Wright, 17-2, at UMBC Stadium last night to cap a Panthers' sweep of the Class 3A-4A lacrosse championships -- only the second time that one school has won both titles in the same year.
The Panthers' dual victories in Class 3A-4A was a first in the state tournament's 9-year history. Towson swept the Class 1A-2A crowns last year.
Last night, the Panthers (20-1) simply overwhelmed the No. 9 Mustangs (16-2) in every aspect of the game.
Kelly Dirks, Kristy Dirks and Christy McNew scored three goals each, and five others scored for the Anne Arundel County champs, who won their second state title in three years.
Two years ago, the Panthers used a veteran team to edge Mount Hebron in overtime to cap a perfect 22-0 season. This year, coach Dave Gehrdes had a solid contingent of veterans but also started four freshmen, including goalie Heather Young, who had five saves last night.
"We did it with young and old, which makes it pleasing," said Gehrdes. "Two years ago, there was suspense, but this is just as good."
Kelly Dirks, a two-time All-Metro attacker who finished her senior year with 80 goals and 52 assists, agreed.
"[Two years ago,] it was thrilling, because the game was so close," she said, "but it's always special to win as a senior."
The Panthers rolled up a 15-0 lead before Lauren Hess scored the Mustangs' first goal with 11: 35 left to play.
Mustangs coach Paul Snyder had said before the game that the title clash would pit the "Lilliputians against the Gargantuans."
"We're just too young to deal with the kind of speed and talent they have. That's a very, very good lacrosse team," said Snyder, whose team was making its fourth tournament appearance and second trip to the final.
The Harford County champs had the first scoring opportunity, but Jamie Gerhart's back-handed shot went wide. After that, the Panthers were off and running.
Kelly Dirks scored the first Annapolis goal on a feed from Brooke Wagner just 2: 20 into the game. By the midpoint of the half, the Panthers led 4-0; by halftime, the lead was 10-0.
"Our passing was excellent," said Gehrdes, whose team has won 15 straight since a 14-7 setback to Mount Hebron on April 4.
Mount Hebron, which won the Class 1A-2A state title Tuesday, was the only team to score more than nine goals on the Panthers this spring. Annapolis allowed only 3.9 goals a game, keeping opponents under five 14 times.
The Mustangs' lone bright spot last night was a state-tournament record 18 saves for goalie Jen McHugh. The senior, who broke the tournament record of 13 shared by Mount Hebron's Kristen Foster and Towson's Chrissy Salamone, had 11 saves in the first half.
The Panthers gave McHugh plenty of chances, firing 26 shots in the first half alone and by the end outshooting the Mustangs, 37-13.
"Jen played extraordinarily well," said Snyder. "She deserved a better fate, but we just were overwhelmed."
Pub Date: 5/21/98