By Nelson Coffin
Annapolis Area Christian School jumped out to a commanding lead in the first half and then held off a St. Timothy’s rally in the second half before pulling away to secure a 19-13 non-conference victory Wednesday afternoon in Stevenson.
Abby Boyer, Amanda Wadsworth, Livy Lenhart and Maggie Anderson combined for 16 goals for the Eagles while senior goalie Kayleigh Kotula recorded 18 saves for the B Conference team, which upped its overall record to 5-2 and remains 4-2 in league play.
It took some doing, though, to overcome a St. Tim’s team just rounding into shape after missing a month of playing and practice to spring break and travel time required for a school with numerous boarding students.
Early on, it was all AACS. The Eagles scored on five of their first eight shots and held a commanding 6-0 lead before junior midfielder Isabel Klose and freshman Abbey Walsh finally solved Kotula, who had a monster 12-save first half and finished with 18 stops.
Still, the defending C Conference champions rallied to within 13-12 after a goal by sophomore attacker Jen Holland with 8:34 remaining in regulation completed a 12-7 run over the next 28 minutes bridging the first and second periods.
In addition to Klose, Walsh and Holland, senior midfielder Katie Harvey and junior attacker Drew Palermo scored during the spree to bring St. Tim’s back into the thick of things.
“Even after being down 6-0, we didn’t worry about the score,” St. Tim’s coach Kara Carlin said after her team fell to 4-4. “It was a ’skills’ game for us, and that’s why I scheduled a game against a B Conference team at this point in the season after we missed so much time with spring break and travel.”
However, that would be as close as St. Tim’s would get because AACS closed the game on a 6-1 spurt to seal the deal behind Lenhart, Anderson, Wadsworth, Madi Diangelo and Grace Parker.
“We’ve been working on consistency, aggressiveness and confidence,” said AACS coach Lauren Burleigh.
While the aggressiveness and confidence seemed to be working, especially early and late in the contest, the Eagles may still want to improve their consistency — with one notable exception in the goal.
“Kayleigh has been our rock,” Burleigh said about Kotula. “She’s a fourth-year starter who has gotten better every year. I think she does it with willpower and determination, and she’s such a great leader for us.”
Kotula, who plans to continue playing the sport at John Carroll University in Cleveland next spring, said an injury on a collision to her counterpart, Olivia Risser, that forced the sophomore keeper to be replaced by junior attacker Sophia Looney between the pipes was an unnerving moment in the game.
Risser had just made her seventh save of the game on a high-to-high shot from point-blank range when she fell hard to the turf.
“I was a little shaken up when I saw one of my kind go down like that,” Kotula said. “But my team is always behind me, and without them, I’m not improving. And without me, they’re not improving.”