'I just did my job,' goalie Staerk says The Lancers' sophomore was not intimidated by the Quakers' scoring machine.

Posted: June 06, 2004

It could have been worse. Much worse. But what kept Holy Cross in yesterday's girls' lacrosse state championship was a diminutive, red-haired sophomore who handled the brunt of a number of point-blank shots and stopped them.

Moorestown won its fifth-straight state title, 11-3, over Holy Cross at Rutgers University's Yurcak Field, but 5-foot-2 sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Staerk prevented the game from getting more lopsided than the final score.

"Kelly played a great game, as well as our defense," Holy Cross co-coach Joey Hanners said. "The first half wasn't our half. Moorestown swarmed all over us at midfield."

Staerk made a couple of big stick saves early in the game, keeping the score knotted at 1 for the first 10 minutes. The Quakers controlled the draws and used their usual patient motion offense to generate scoring chances. But time after time, those opportunities died at Staerk's stick.

As a sophomore playing in the biggest game of her career, Staerk faced the daunting task of stopping Moorestown's dangerous Margie Curran and Megan O'Malley.

"Their goalie did play well," said O'Malley, the Virginia-bound forward, who scored twice. "We shot high a lot, and she made a lot of stick saves off our high shots. She actually did a great job, because we had a great first half. It could have been worse. But we also weren't faking our shots as we should have, and we started shooting lower."

But Staerk, who never played goalie in lacrosse before this season, wasn't about to be intimidated by Moorestown's reputation. She prepared for the championship game by taking shots from some of the Lancers' better shooters, like Hillary and Whitney Richards.

"You can't think about the name on their shirts, just the girl running at you with the ball," said Staerk, who finished with 11 saves, nine in the first half. "I just couldn't get flustered. I just did my job and didn't worry about anything else."

Contact suburban staff writer Joe Santoliquito at 610-313-8028 or jsantoliquito@phillynews.com.

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