For a few minutes in the first half, it looked as though St. Andrew’s School had weathered the worst of the storm, scoring four straight goals to erase an early Cape Henlopen lead in the DIAA girls lacrosse state final Thursday night.
Unfortunately, the Vikings experienced a resurgence and eventually defeated the Saints 17-10 at Dover High School, their third straight state championship.
“Our girls showed that we can have a run when we’re doing well,” Saints head coach Jennifer McGowan said. “but they [Cape] were the stronger team today.”
It was a rematch of the 2011 state championship game [Cape won 12-6] and an earlier regular season match-up that saw the Vikings victorious.
And Cape got off to a hot start, leading 4-0 after 8 minutes and 14 seconds of game action.
St. Andrew’s, who had won nine straight matches and 14 of their last 15 leading up to the final, erased the early Viking lead in just over six minutes, with senior Grace Saliba scoring twice and and sophomore Sara Coyne and junior Helen Cammerzell adding goals to knot the score at 4 with 15 minutes to go in the half.
Grace Saliba and Cammarzell led the Saints with three goals each, while Molly Belk added two and Coyne and Aly Saliba also scored for St. Andrews.
“I don’t know what changed,” McGowan said when asked about the sudden burst that got the Saints back in the game. “We just were able to finish and got on a roll.”
That roll was short lived as the Vikings took an 11-7 lead into halftime and soon were up 15-8 and on their way to another state title.
That doesn’t diminish the season the Saints had in their coach’s eyes and she was proud of her senior captains (Saliba, standout goalkeeper Nina Labovich and Belk) and hopeful the younger players can be motivated by getting to the finals again this season.
“This is an incredible group of girls and it was an honor to coach them this year,” McGowan said of her entire team. “Hopefully the returning players can look at this and see how much it hurts to lose a game like this.”
E-mail Chris Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org