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July 4, 2006

Virginia’s Katherine Blair, playing for the USFHA Maryland Thundersticks as part of the USFHA High Performance National Championships, made nine saves to help her side win the National Championship today in Virginia Beach. Mia Link was also a starter for the national champion side, who defeated top-seeded South 4-2. In the bronze medal game, Virginia assistant coach Alexandra Kyser made an assist in overtime on a short corner to help the Midwest upset New Jersey/Pennsylvania 4-3.

In the gold medal game, Maryland took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Angie Loy off a Dina Rizzo assist, a lead the Thundersticks took into halftime. Maryland built a 3-0 lead off a second goal by Loy, assisted by Rizzo, and then a short corner goal scored by Rizzo. A pair of point-blanks saves by Blair kept the South off the scoreboard, but Claire Laubach pulled the South within two off a short corner goal, but Maryland answered right back with a goal by Dana Sensenig three minutes later. A Laree Beans goal in the 64th minute accounted for the final score of 4-2. For the second consecutive meeting between the two sides, Blair held the South, who averaged just under four goals a game, two only two goals.

In the bronze medal game between Midwest and New Jersey/Pennsylvania, Liz Sanders used a reverse stick chip to take a 1-0 lead, and then Kyser scored the second goal on a direct short corner to give Midwest a 2-0 lead. NJ/PA’s Kate Barber then scored to send the teams into halftime with a 2-1 lead for Midwest. Barber scored 14 minutes into the second half to tie the game, and then Sarah Dawson blocked in a cross to the roof of the cage for a 3-2 lead in the 59th minute. With time winding down, Caitlin McCurdy stuffed in a scrum in front of the cage to send the game into extra time.At the end of the first half of overtime, Kyser took the stick stop and sent it down low to Midwest teammate Caroline Blaum, who scored her tournament-high sixth goal of the tournament to send the Midwest to the bronze medal.

In the first game of the day, assistant coach Christina Kirkaldy notched her sixth consecutive game with double-digit saves but California still fell to New England 5-0.

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