Maryland & D.C. Black 7,

Long Island Yellow Jackets 6

Cassie Krause held the ball in her lacrosse stick as the clock ticked down in the Galaxy National Championships final on Sunday, knowing her Maryland & D.C. Lacrosse Black 2005 squad was one flick of the wrist away from capping an undefeated season.

Krause, who had just been awarded a free position after she was fouled from behind by a Long Island (N.Y.) Yellow Jackets defender about 10 meters from the goal, had one thing on her mind as she listened for the whistle in the tie game.

"I knew we had a lot riding on this shot," said Krause, a rising senior midfielder at Mount Hebron. "So I was just going to rip it as hard as could."

And rip it she did -- driving the ball in the space between the goalie's shoulder and the crossbar for her game-high third goal, which lifted her team to a 7-6 victory, one that was clinched after Ginna Lance, a senior at Mount Hebron, won the ensuing draw to enable M&D Black to run out the clock at Lehigh University.

"Once I saw Cassie had the ball, I told everyone to get out of her way because I knew we could count on her to score," said Megan Bosica, a junior midfielder at Mount Hebron who scored two goals. "She's dependable and we know Cassie will always find a way to win."

Just as M&D Black 2005, a club team composed mainly of rising high school seniors from Howard, Montgomery, Carroll, Baltimore and Fairfax counties, has done repeatedly this summer. The team finished 31-0, which included victories in each of the nation's three most prestigious club lacrosse tournaments: the National Draw in New Jersey, the Vail Shootout in Colorado and the Galaxy National Championships, which featured 17 of the top club teams made up of upperclassmen from the Eastern Seaboard.

"Our team has only been together for three years, so what we did would be like an NFL expansion team going undefeated and winning the Super Bowl in its third year," said Chris Robinson, a former girls lacrosse coach at Mount Hebron who founded Maryland & D.C. Lacrosse Club, a club that fields 11 select teams for kids between seventh and 12th grades. "You're talking about going across the country and beating the best teams from all over, even having to beat some teams that are made up of the best high school players in that area, three or four times apiece."

Krause's heroics prevented her team from squandering a 6-4 lead with fewer than six minutes remaining; Long Island scored two goals in 2 minutes 30 seconds to tie the game. Long Island had a chance to take the lead on its next possession, but turned the ball over in the final minute because of a crease violation.

M&D worked the ball downfield to set up for what would have likely been the final shot of regulation. Krause got the ball about 15 meters from the left side of the goal, and as she cut toward the net, she was fouled from behind, setting up her winning shot.

Krause's performance in one of her team's biggest games of the summer cemented her reputation as one of the area's premier players after she missed most of the high school season -- that saw Mount Hebron win its eighth consecutive Maryland title -- with a stress fracture in her right ankle.

"It was gratifying to have Cassie score the game-winner for us because we know how hard she's worked to get back on the field, and even though she played for us late in the season at Mount Hebron, she wasn't the same Cassie we were used to," said M&D Black 2005 Coach Scott Robinson, who is an assistant coach at Mount Hebron. "What you saw [Sunday] was the Cassie of old."