After the first day of the U.S. Women's Lacrosse Association )) tournament at McDonogh School, the South I and Chesapeake I teams are on track to meet in this afternoon's national schoolgirl championship match.
The two shared the title last year because rain washed out the final day of competition. It was the third straight title for South, which won the two previous years outright.
Yesterday, both teams won their first two preliminary games by wide margins and South prevailed in the only close game, 6-5, over Pennsylvania I.
South, made up primarily of girls from Baltimore, Washington and northern Virginia, needed a stellar defensive day to edge Pennsylvania, which took an early 1-0 lead.
The opening minutes could have been a lot more trouble for South, but a strong defensive stand led by Jaimee Reynolds and goalie Tricia Dabrowski held Pennsylvania scoreless on its first seven shots. Dabrowski had five of her eight saves in that stretch.
Reynolds played outstanding position defense the entire game and Ella Masson, Elizabeth Knight and Eloise Priest also made key contributions.
South's attack finally got untracked when Lauren Aumiller slipped in a low free-position shot and then assisted Molly Cangemi for a 2-1 lead 5: 30 before the half.
South never again trailed, but Pennsylvania never stopped threatening, tying at 2 just before the half. But South's defense prevailed. Goalie Mary Beth LaVerghetta, who played the entire second half, made four outstanding saves.
Even though South took a 4-2 lead on goals from Kim Smith and Erin McInnes in the first six minutes, the game wasn't in hand until the final seconds.
McInnes scored with 51 seconds left for a 6-4 South lead. After Maureen Corcoran cut the lead to 6-5, South needed a key ground ball from Cangemi and an interception by Smith to hold off Pennsylvania's last stand.
In the final preliminaries early this morning, South (3-0) has one more game while Chesapeake (2-0) has two. Should they each emerge with the best record in their preliminary pools, they could meet in the championship game at 4: 30 this afternoon at McDonogh's stadium.
First, however, they would have to get through the semifinals. The top team in Pool A (South's pool) will play the No. 2 team in Pool B (Chesapeake's) at 11: 30 and the top team in Pool B will meet the second team in Pool A at 1: 30. The winners advance to the title game.
Yesterday's schoolgirl highlights also featured the North/South
All-Star game in which the top South and Chesapeake seniors joined with those from California, Colorado, Midwest, Northwest and Florida. However, the North stars proved too much for that combination.
The North -- New York, New England, New Jersey and Pennsylvania -- ran up an 8-1 lead en route to a 12-5 victory.
McInnes scored two goals for the South all-stars, while Kelly Dirks had a goal and two assists. Kellie Thompson had a goal and an assist.
Pub Date: 5/24/98