For a little more than 15 minutes, the Liberty girls lacrosse team played like a member of the vaunted Association of Independent Schools A Division.
But private school powerhouse and second-ranked Bryn Mawr brought the No. 11 Lions back to reality, reeling off eight unanswered goals over a 16-minute span to capture the championship game of the four-team Liberty Lacrosse Invitational, 13-7, in Eldersburg yesterday.
The Mawrtians, who thumped 13th-ranked Glenelg, 17-3, to get to the final, actually trailed Liberty, 3-1, midway through the first half, but senior midfielder Miles Whitman (three goals and five assists) and senior attack Meredith Goodell (four goals and two assists) helped the Baltimore City school remain undefeated in 12 contests.
"This team is so good at stepping it up in that situation," Goodell said of the early deficit. "We have great confidence in each other not to let each other down."
The Lions (6-2), who walloped Towson, 17-6, in the first semifinal, were led by senior midfielder Jessica Roguski, who recorded two goals and an assist.
"I thought we played the entire 50 minutes," said Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn. "We never gave up. We played hard the whole time."
The Lions won their first four faceoffs against Bryn Mawr and were quickly rewarded for their effort with a 3-1 lead. After Whitman and senior attack Tara Hardiman (hat trick and an assist) scored two quick goals 48 seconds apart to tie the game at three, sophomore midfielder Lindsay Weiner curled off a great pick by senior midfielder Michelle Allen to take a feed from Roguski and give Liberty a 4-3 lead with 8: 21 left in the half.
That's when the floodgates opened as the Mawrtians scored four goals in the first half and four more in the first 6: 22 of the second half to build an 11-4 advantage.
Goals by sophomore midfielders Kelly Fiorani and Meagan Voight cut the Lions' deficit to five, but Whitman and Goodell sandwiched goals around a score from Allen to secure the win.
Whitman, who registered a hat trick and two assists against Glenelg, said Bryn Mawr's slow start against Liberty was a bit of a concern.
"We took better care of the ball," she said. "We played our pace and used our midfield speed and incredible attack to take care of the ball."
Mawrtians coach Wendy Kridel said the competition should help her squad prepare for a tournament next weekend that includes top-ranked Mount Hebron and No. 5 Severna Park.
"It's difficult to play two games in a row because you eat lunch and then you get full," Kridel said. "This should be good for the girls for when we play Severna Park."
In the consolation final, Glenelg needed two overtime periods to outlast Towson, 12-11.
Junior midfielder Kelly O'Connor led the Gladiators (7-1) with five goals -- her final tally ending up as the game-winner.
Sophomore attack Whitney Mershon scored four goals for the Generals (3-5), who led a 7-4 halftime lead slip from their grasp.