By Chris Teale (Photo/Chris Teale)
Just 10.6 seconds remained in the second half as Kelly Larkin prepared for a free position shot that likely would deliver Bishop Ireton’s girls lacrosse team the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title against Good Counsel Monday afternoon.
Her first attempt went in the net, yet was waved off by the officials for encroachment into the shooting space by a Falcons defender and so had to be retaken.
Before the second, Larkin said she saw the defense had adjusted, and let off a pass to the nearby Lexi Ledoyen. As the clock ticked on, Ledoyen scored from close range with 7.2 seconds left to give the Cardinals a 10-9 win over Good Counsel and the WCAC tournament title.
“There was someone that was in a better position than me, and that’s one of the things that [head coach Rick Sofield] stresses to us: teamwork,” Larkin said. “If I see someone that’s in a better position than myself, I’m going to do it and create a passage for her, and thankfully she scored.”
It was a final that lived up to the hype at the University of Maryland’s Ludwig Field, as it brought together two of the best teams in the region, both of which are ranked nationally.
Neither team was able to stay ahead for very long in the first half, and went into the break tied at 5-5. Ireton was led by a hat-trick from sophomore Madison Mote, but things changed in the second half as the Falcons pulled ahead 9-5 with 13.57 left.
That deficit appeared to energize the Cardinals, who scored three goals in just over four minutes. Junior attacker Kate Carney tallied once, then Kayla Duperrouzel scored twice to cut Good Counsel’s lead to just one goal.
Then, in free position with 2.31 on the clock, Duperrouzel scored again to level the score and send the Cardinals sideline into ecstasy before Ledoyen’s final tally.
“We prepared for it,” Ledoyen said. “We knew that one of the teams was going to be down and the other one was going to be up, and we knew what to do when that happened. It just happened to be us and we really prepared for it.”
“That’s why we play a hard schedule,” Sofield said. “We’re willing to take our lumps in the regular season, lose some tough games, so that we’re prepared when we play in this situation.”
For Ireton, now 18-3 on the season, it completes another impressive campaign in the WCAC. The Cardinals entered the tournament with the No. 2 seed behind the No. 1 Falcons. The Cardinals first beat Bishop O’Connell 20-5 in the quarterfinals, then avenged last year’s semifinal defeat to Holy Cross with an 11-7 win at the same stage this year.
A campaign in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament now beckons for Ireton, set to begin May 17 and with the Cardinals looking to win their third straight crown. And while the players have plenty of time now to enjoy their win, they are
determined to finish off with another state title.
“I think this is great for us going into the state playoffs, but we know we still have a lot to work on,” Larkin said. “We saw that in this game. We didn’t play a perfect game of lacrosse,
but we did play good enough to win against a great team. We are going to work on the little things that we messed up in this game and hopefully carry that into the state championship.”