If Carly Reed knew the St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes Saints held a comfortable six-point lead over rivals Episcopal with seconds left before the halftime break Tuesday night, she didn’t show it.
The sophomore attacker tore down the field, cradling the ball as she weaved through defenders for one last shot on net. With lightning speed, Reed hurled the ball forward only to see it ricochet off a goalpost, the sound echoing like a gunshot across Greenway Field.
It was Reed’s first encounter with the cross-town boarding school on the lacrosse field and she wanted to win.
It feels good it’s always good to beat Episcopal, she said afterward, celebrating the Saints’ 17-5 dismantling of the Maroon. They’re good at all other sports and we definitely wanted to challenge that. We wanted [the win].
Though head coach Kathy Jenkins will argue the Saints squad’s first half performance needed some work, there were few moments where SSSAS seemed to struggle. The biggest challenge to Jenkins’ team came not on the field, but off of it: a break in play after an injured referee had to exit the field.
As they sat waiting for a replacement ref to arrive with the score 2-0 in their favor, Jenkins tried to save Reed and company from distraction. They talked about their on-field goals and stayed focused, she said.
We had to recollect ourselves after that, said sophomore attacker Besser Dyson. We just had to come out strong.
It paid off. The Saints found the net three times in as many minutes after the action resumed. The Maroon, rarely on the attack and often pushing back against the quick-footed Saints, would not score until more than midway through the half.
Jenkins believes her 17-2 team really sizzled in the second half.
I didn’t think we were moving the ball the way we can [in the first half], she said. I think our defense has been playing well and holding teams and that’s really helped get the flow going.
When the Saints fell back on defense they swarmed the Marron attackers. Under pressure, Episcopals offense broke down. Attackers made poor shots, bad passes translated into turnovers and before long the Maroon were back on the defensive often with little to show for it.
Despite the growing deficit and their seemingly inability to stop, or even slow the Saints, the Maroon doggedly hung in the game. Five minutes into the second half and they still seemed coiled, ready to strike; just a few good cuts away from roaring back.
And then the Saints kicked it into overdrive.
When a long, patient and ultimately failed Episcopal offensive drive ended in a missed shot and a turnover ten minutes into the second half, their rivals leaned on their speed advantage to put the game away.
Streaking back down the field, the Saints scored in the blink of an eye. A little more than two minutes later they were up by two more goals.
Were a very fast team compared to a lot of [our opponents] and that definitely helped us, Reed said. It definitely helped in our cutting, rolling off of [our] picks and getting that one step to cut against them with the ball.
The overpowering win keeps the Saints, nationally ranked by ESPN, on a perfect streak in the Independent Schools League alive and well. They face conference rival Bullis Thursday before heading to National Cathedral on April 30.