The John Carroll girls prefer playing a more fast-paced style of lacrosse. But when the host Patriots slowed the pace in the rain Tuesday afternoon, they did just fine.
Erica Bodt scored three of her game-high five goals in the second half as No. 10 John Carroll controlled the tempo in a 12-9 victory over No. 13 St. Paul's in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game.
Bodt, a Syracuse-bound junior, finished with five goals and one assist. Teammate Annie Thomas (two goals, three assists) also helped the offense at key times in the game, especially in the slower-paced second half.
John Carroll coach Krystin Porcella's team likes to play a run-and-gun style, which it did in a first half that ended in a 6-6 tie. But the coach told her team to settle things down in the second half and take command.
"I think we were a little more calm and composed in the [second half]," Porcella said. "They were putting so much pressure on us when we had the ball. We just needed to settle down."
The Patriots took charge with three quick goals in a span of 3:17 to take a 9-6 lead. Bodt gave John Carroll the lead for good just 25 seconds into the second half. Cat Gordon and Bodt both scored for a three-goal edge.
St. Paul's (6-3, 3-3) got goals from Shelby Wells and Maddy Aldave to cut the lead to 9-8 with 16:47 left. But John Carroll (3-2, 3-2) answered with three goals and held the Gators scoreless until the final minute.
A big reason was John Carroll's offensive patience. The Patriots held the ball for longer stretches, forcing St. Paul's to pull out its defense and opening up better shots. In addition, John Carroll won 19 of 23 draws overall, and those three early goals seemed to give the Patriots a spark.
"It really put our momentum into gear," Bodt said. "It just started from there."
The Patriots also played better defense in the second half and got timely saves later in the game from goalie Alexa DiPeso, who had six stops overall.
St. Paul's was without top scorer Kelly Boyd, who missed the game because of illness, but first-year coach Brooke Kuhl-McClelland likes how her young team has been playing. Sam Fine (three goals), Wells (two goals) and Charlotte Brooks (two goals) all pitched in.
"I feel like we're in a good place now," Boyd said. "I saw that spark today. I feel like they're elevating their game."