Perry Hall coach Brad Kressman built his team for this season around defense.
Going into last night's Class 4A North Region title match with his Gators having yielded only seven goals while putting up nine shutouts in 13 games, he had a point.
Dulaney will not argue it anytime soon after being shut down -- and out -- of the playoffs, 3-0, by Kressman's No. 11-ranked Gators, who had plenty of motivation.
First was revenge; Dulaney came from behind on the same field to beat 11-2-1 Perry Hall, 2-1, in September.
Next, last night's game was part of a doubleheader -- the feature, no less, following the Perry Hall boys' 11-0 rout of Mervo -- under the lights for the first time. And the Gators had their biggest crowd of the fall, approximately 300, watching.
Technically, with no goals, the Lions (10-5-0) were in this game until the 36th minute. Then, Perry Hall midfielder Molly McCaffery, banged a rebound -- the sophomore's first -- off scrambling Lions goalkeeper Dana Wilder's hands into the low-right corner from about 4 yards.
But really, Perry Hall controlled this match -- its first region title since 1994 -- almost from the outset, holding the Lions without a shot until the 21st minute.
The first time, in fact, the Lions got inside 25 yards was in the 14th minute.
"We knew who to shut down this time," said Perry Hall's sweeper, senior Courtney Outen, a senior who led her defensive back line with poise, sure distribution, and confident instructions, often working 40 yards from her own goal.
Taylor Gauvin on the right flank, Kathleen McCarty, another sophomore, on the left, Danielle Outen, Courtney's sophomore sister just as poised at stopper, and often senior midfielder Robyn Scrivani contributed to a stifling defense.
Perry Hall goalkeeper Erin Fugate had several "handles" and one sliding block of a pass into the box that helped keep her in the game but was called on to make only two relatively easy saves.
Knowing his team was frustrated at halftime, Kressman encouraged his Gators to just keep working and shooting on the drizzle-slick grass.
"We just hustled, we had the determination, and we just kept banging," said Kressman, "and in the end, it went for us. We had three people score, and that's how it's been for us this season."
In the 68th minute, a quick scoring sequence began at midfield with senior midfielder Amanda Capone's upfield pass to Lindsay Lauenstein, a defender on the Gators' roster. She worked to the right baseline before her shot made Wilder dive for a deflection -- straight at the Gators' Hope Dow, who scored from 8 yards for a 2-0 lead.
Perry Hall maintained offensive control and pressure, and in the 78th minute, Lauenstein sealed the victory with a hard, rising, right-to-left strike from 20 yards off a pass from Gauvin.
"It was just a tough game," said Dulaney coach Diane O'Connor.
Pub Date: 11/11/98