Roland Park Country School’s lacrosse team simply couldn’t relax during Thursday’s match with Notre Dame Prep. An overtime loss last season to the Blazers was in the back of Reds’ minds. Notre Dame Prep standout Covie Stanwick singlehandedly kept badgering the Reds.
When the final horn sounded, No. 10 Roland Park was able to celebrate a hard earned 15-12 decision over the second-ranked Blazers in north Baltimore. Junior attack Jenna Rifler had four goals and an assist for the Reds (7-2 overall, 4-2 IAAM A Conference), and Meggie Ramzy and Mattie Meredith each contributed two goals with an assist.
Roland Park ran off five unanswered goals from late in the first half into the early second to gain the lead for good then kept the Blazers (3-3, 3-2 IAAM A) at bay with efficient offense and aggressive defense. The Reds have beaten No.4 John Carroll (then ranked No. 3) and Notre Dame Prep, which has reached the IAAM A finals the past two seasons, in the last 10 days.
“From start to finish, they clearly wanted to win this game,” said Roland Park coach Kristin Nicolini. “We had different people step up at different times.”
“Today we wanted to turn our season around and prove ourselves again,” said Reds senior midfielder Caroline Seats.
Seats, who’s headed to Georgetown University, had a goal and two assists along with junior midfielder Audrey Todd. Betsy Angel scored twice while senior defender Daniela Eppler provided two assists.
“We have a lot of different scorers so you never know, Jenna stepped up big today,” said Nicolini, “it could be somebody else the next game.”
The Reds needed every effort Thursday to withstand a tremendous effort by Stanwick, the nation’s No. 1 recruit who had five goals and five assists. The Boston College-bound attack brought Notre Dame Prep to within two goals on three occasions with two unassisted scores and found a crossing Hannah Jablonski on the other.
But Roland Park answered Stanwick’s salvo each time, first with Rifler scoring off a feed from Madison Formwalt, making it 13-10 with 9 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in regulation. Rifler followed Jablonski’s goal, beating her defender with a nice spin move and placing a shot low into the net with 7:08 to play.
After Stanwick’s fifth unassisted tally made it 14-12, Roland Park patiently ran its offense and Todd found Formwalt coming from the back for game’s final score. The Reds were a different team after Nicolini called a timeout after Notre Dame Prep surged ahead in the first half.
“We try to save one timeout for the second half but we had to do it,” said Nicolini. “I really think the girls responded to what we were telling them.”
“We kept forcing passing inside the eight and we kind of slow,” said Rifler. “We decided after the timeout to relax and spread it out. We had more opportunities inside.”
Despite Stanwick’s effort, Roland Park didn’t make it easy, constantly doubling the ballhandler inside the eight-meter circle. Senior goalie Lauren Knight made 12 saves for the Reds including a couple of stops on Stanwick in the latter end of the second half.
“They beat us in a lot of aspects of the game. They definitely capitalized on our mistakes,” said Stanwick. “It’s a great learning experience for us.”
Trailing 5-2, Notre Dame Prep grabbed the lead at 7-6 as Taylor Mangione scored off a Stanwick feed. Todd scooped up a groundball went downfield and scored, starting Roland Park’s five-goal run. Fromwalt, Ramzy, Meredith and Seats also scored.
Seats said last season was a learning experience for Roland Park including a tough 17-16 overtime decision to Notre Dame Prep. The Reds are showing a lot of growth so far this season.
“Our motto this year is, ‘Be Great,’” said Seats. “Take the talent we have and just execute perfectly. It’s going well so far.”