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No. 2 St. Paul’s girls lacrosse gets revenge, beats national No. 1 Glenelg Country, 15-7, for IAAM A Conference title

This was the moment the St. Paul’s girls lacrosse team had prepared for since April’s lopsided loss to Glenelg Country.

So when the two teams met in Friday night’s rematch for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title, the Gators weren’t about to let it slip by.

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Junior Natalie Shurtleff scored a game-high five goals, all in the first half, as the No. 2 Gators opened a commanding early lead, and senior Madison Beale keyed a defense that held Dragons offensive standout Jaclyn Marszal to one goal in 15-7 win over the nation’s No. 1 team at USA Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, giving St. Paul’s its second straight conference title.

The result was a stark contrast to last month’s 20-7 loss to the Dragons, in which the Gators were attempting to deal with the recent loss of three starters.

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“We knew we weren’t 100% the first time we played them,” St. Paul’s coach Mary Gagnon said. “They played great — give them a lot of credit. But today we regrouped. We had days off, we rested. We got our confidence back. We knew that Glenelg didn’t really see us. We felt like they really couldn’t prepare for us because they really didn’t see our offense.

“The day after that loss we felt terrible. We didn’t like it, and it just really made us regroup and refocus, and dedicated the last couple weeks of the season to being our best version.”

This time, St. Paul’s (17-1), the nation’s No. 3 team, played like a different team.

The game remained close until midway through the first half, when St. Paul’s began to take command. The Gators began consistently winning draws and converting at the offensive end, with Shurtleff scoring two of her five first-half goals during a stretch in which they finished the half on an 8-0 run.

Shurtleff, who missed most of last month’s matchup after picking up her second yellow card with more than five minutes left in the first half, said a hot start was imperative.

“I didn’t get to play against them [last time] for most of it, so I came in today thinking, ‘The first half has to be our half. We have to score,’” Shurtleff said. “[The loss] really weighs on you and you think about it until the game, then you just come in ready.”

Lauren Steer added two goals and four assists and Frannie Hahn a goal and five assists for St. Paul’s.

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When the Dragons did get the ball, the Gators’ defense — recently revamped because of injuries to two starters — managed to hold its own, forcing several turnovers while holding Glenelg County (17-2) without a goal for the final 15:06 of the half and the first 6:59 of the second.

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Beale played a major role in that, marking Marszal — who torched the Gators for eight goals and six assists in their first meeting — to just a single goal.

“We matched her with Jaclyn,” Gagnon said. “We saw their offense. They didn’t see ours. We got to prepare a lot. We knew what was coming.”

To prepare, the Gators had Hahn try to play the role of Marszal in practice, emulating her signatures moves.

“She’s a really good feeder, and when no one’s on her she can just take it straight to the goal,” Beale said. “So we just wanted to step up, and we all stepped up as a defense today. ... We just practiced marking up on her and watching the cutters, because she’s such a good feeder.”

Glenelg Country was shooting for its first A Conference title after winning back-to-back B Conference crowns in 2015 and 2016, then moving up.

Goals: SP-Shurtleff 5, L. Steer 2, Herrera 2, Hoskins 2, K. Steer 2, O’Day, Hahn; GCS-Weisman 2, B. Byrne 2, R. Byrne 2, J. Marszal, Assists: SP-Hahn 5, Steer 4, O’Day; GCS-Weisman. Saves: SP-Radabaugh 4; GCS-S. Marszal 7. Half: Glenelg Country, 12-3


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