By Chris Teale (Photo/Chris Teale)
The Episcopal girls lacrosse team had already secured promotion to the Independent Schools League’s AA division after winning the league’s A division regular season title, but it wanted
to finish with a flourish in the tournament final at home against Sidwell Friends on Monday.
The No. 1-seeded Maroon did just that, taking a 12-8 victory over their No. 2-seed opponents.
Junior midfielders Liza-Banks Campagna and Greta Holt led the way for the hosts with three goals apiece, while senior midfielder Sarah Jones and sophomore attacker Isabelle Holt had two goals each. Sophomores Janie Stillwell and Nettie Webb added one goal apiece.
The win capped a golden run for the Maroon, who went a perfect 7-0 against their A division opponents, finishing with an overall record of 14-7. The prospect of playing in the upper division next season against some of the best teams in the area is a tantalizing one, players said.
“This game and the whole season, it’s great to win the lower division and it’s great to go undefeated in the division and win the tournament, but I think the whole time we’ve been playing these lower division games, we’ve been looking to next year,” Campagna said. “Last week, we lost [13-12 to Stone Ridge of the AA division], so I think that says a lot to what’s going to happen next year.”
The game stayed close throughout the first half, but goals in the last six minutes from Greta Holt, Isabelle Holt and Webb helped the home side pull ahead 6-3 just before halftime.
After the break, the Maroon punished the visitors with two free position goals to lead 8-4. But the Quakers’ Lizzy Holland scored twice in just under four minutes for the away side, while the hosts saw several players penalized with yellow cards and forced from the field.
Another free position goal from Greta Holt and a final tally from Campagna with 2:31 remaining calmed any remaining nerves among the home support.
“I was excited with the [offensive] balance,” said Maroon head coach Ashley McDowell. “We like to try and balance our score between our players and balance our score between fast breaks and settled attacks. I thought they did a nice job with that.”
Episcopal’s zone defense saw success, as its Sidwell opponents made some errors and turned the ball over on several occasions. The zone defense requires each player to back each other up when challenging for the ball, something the players said worked well.
“We are there for each other, we’re on each other’s backs,” Greta Holt said. “It’s tough and it’s definitely something you have to be committed to. Every girl had to be part of it for it to stay together and not fall through for a girl to get a shot.”
The win came at the end of a hot streak for a young Maroon team that had just three seniors on its roster this season. McDowell said the leadership shown by her upperclassmen kept the team in strong form during its postseason campaign, especially after it already secured promotion.
“We’re a young team but we’ve got three seniors and three juniors who are really just all heart and all committed to the program,” McDowell said “I think they’ve really kept this young group with their eyes on this day in particular. We really have been playing some of our best lacrosse lately, and I think that’s all attributed to the upperclassmen.”