Thursday, May 15, 2008

Girls lacrosse: Klatzin, Wootton live to play another day

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Maybe it was the pressure of an undefeated season, hanging like a millstone around the necks of Wootton's girls lacrosse team. Or, maybe it was the fact that they were playing their second game in two days. It could have been the fact that Blake, their opponent, was playing its best game all season. Whatever the reason, Wootton looked as if its season would come to an end on its home field in the first half of Wednesday's 4A-3A West Region final. And when the Bengals scored to open the second half, the Patriots' deficit grew to three goals.

Then, Julie Klatzkin took over.

The Patriots senior attacker scored four goals in the second half, and five in the game overall, as she led her team to a 10-8 victory over Blake in Rockville. For the first time in school history, Wootton (15-0) claimed a regional crown and will advance to play Catonsville, the 4A-3A South Region champs, in a state semifinal at North Carroll High School at 6 p.m. on Friday. Klatzkin and her teammates were spurred on by their coach, Anne-Marie Ritzell, at halftime.

‘‘I told them to keep running to the ball,” Ritzell said. ‘‘We played last night [a 15-9 victory over B-CC] and I think that we came out tired. I had to remind them that they had to get back to playing the way that we have all season, which is to go hard.”

It was clear from her tenacious play that Klatzkin took Ritzell's words to heart. After Nicky Wannen scored for the Bengals just one minute into the second half, increasing their lead to 8-5, Klatzkin, who will play at Colgate (N.Y.) University next year, barreled to the goal and beat goalie Molly Donaghue. Up to that point, Donaghue had stymied the Patriots, recording nine saves in the first half, including a stretch where she stopped Klatzkin twice on one Wootton possession. However, after Klatzkin's first goal of the second half, the floodgates opened. Caroline Stapleton followed with a goal, and then Klatzkin finished the job with three more scores, including her final goal, when she managed to get a shot off even as she knocked her defender, Darin Murray, to the ground. On the other side of field, Blake (12-3) which had managed seven goals in the first half, did not score again.

‘‘Wootton is a team that is capable of taking advantage of every mistake,” Blake coach Christine Denny said. ‘‘For 40 minutes, that game was a stalemate, we played them evenly. It was just that 10-minute stretch when they separated themselves.”

Because of that 10-minute stretch, the Patriots will live to play another day. And, with at least a day of rest to catch their breath, their coach guaranteed that they would be ready to go.

‘‘This win is huge,” Ritzell said. ‘‘But we are not supposed to come out slow. That is not the way that we play. It took until halftime to register tonight, but that's not going to happen again.”

Note: A Montgomery County girls lacrosse team has never won a game in the state semifinals.