For 154 seconds, the matchup between Good Counsel and Academy of Holy Cross turned into Holy Cross against Jennifer Morrissey. With a little less than six minutes in the game, her Falcons clinging to a three-goal lead, the senior snagged a quick pass from fellow senior Tori Cerny in front of cage and scored.
Then she did it again and again and again.
Morrissey scored four straight as Good Counsel put the Tartans down for good Wednesday afternoon in a 16-9 victory, claiming sole possession atop the WCAC standings.
“Tori gave me three great passes and just opened up the whole field and I think I really got our momentum going,” said Morrissey with a smile.
Both teams carried their fair share of momentum into Wednesday’s contest with the Tartans and Falcons one and two in the WCAC respectively and both boasting 5-0 conference records. The first half’s excitement matched the importance of the game, giving spectators a potential championship preview.
Holy Cross wasted no time, scoring 25 seconds into the game after senior Monica Lucas scooped up a loose ball, sprinted towards the cage, wheeled around the backside twice before launching from just outside the crease.
But the Falcons responded with three straight goals, culminating after sophomore Paige Graham fed Cerny from right the side with a great pass for a point blank shot and a 3-1 lead.
The Tartans clawed back with three straight of their own after a hard collision at midfield left Good Counsel down a player. Lucas took back the lead 4-3 after faking her defender, cutting right and scored from eight yards out.
Good Counsel just barely took a 7-6 lead at halftime, scoring with 12 seconds left, after Holy Cross failed to clear a ball in front of the cage. Junior Shea Cassidy found the ball in the scrum and sneaked it in.
With the potential No. 1 seed on the line, a raucous crowd and the physicality of the play on the field, with a slew of fouls and calls both sides thought should have been called, there was a playoff feel to the game.
“This is their rival game, our rival game, the crowd is insane,” said Falcons head coach Michael Haight. “Our kids responded to that, they enjoyed it, they thrived [on] it and hopefully we can do it again in the next couple weeks.”
After trading blows back and forth in the first half, Good Counsel’s defense tightened behind the spectacular second half play of keeper Meagh Graham.
“I owe it all to my defense, they just really turned it on in the second half...they just kept us in this game,” said Graham. “That’s the reason why I think our offense was able to do so well in the second half.”
No play exemplified that more than after Graham stonewalled a free position shot and sent it down field to Cassidy for a fast break. Cassidy raced down field unchallenged to the goal and gave it up at the last second to a wide open Haley Giraldi. Seven minutes later Morrissey would take over the game.
As the final buzzer rang, the new WCAC leaders erupted from the sidelines and embraced each other. The Holy Cross players could only watch in silence as their rivals celebrated on their field.
Soon the teams lined up to shake hands. At the end the coaching staffs met, the tension between the two could be felt as their hands met. After Holy Cross head coach Jenna Ries let go of Haight’s hand she turned to an observing reporter and made a proclamation loud enough for everyone to here: “We’ll be ready for the playoffs.”
|Good Counsel Girls Lacrosse||9-5||179||118||6-0||100||32|
|Holy Cross Girls Lacrosse||10-5||192||134||5-1||86||44|
|Bishop O'Connell Girls Lacrosse||11-4||231||145||4-2||86||70|
|Bishop Ireton Girls Lacrosse||9-6||192||136||4-2||90||41|
|Elizabeth Seton Girls Lacrosse||11-3||160||113||3-2||57||48|
|St. Mary's Ryken Girls Lacrosse||4-7||108||150||2-4||56||93|
|St. John's Girls Lacrosse||6-6||149||141||1-4||47||73|
|Paul VI Girls Lacrosse||4-8||115||163||1-5||42||92|
|McNamara Girls Lacrosse||4-8||106||167||0-6||26||97|