Holton-Arms scored three goals in the final 12 minutes Wednesday, including a game-winner from Olivia Lee with 26 seconds to play, to capture the ISL A championship with a 6-5 comeback win over National Cathedral School.
“The big thing was just settling our nerves down,” said Holton-Arms head coach Janet McCormick of her team’s late game surge. “We were able to figure out that to win we didn’t need to do anything different than we have been doing all year long.”
McCormick’s confidence and calmness at the helm was essential to the success of Holton-Arms this year since the team was so inexperienced. Holton-Arms roster contains 13 underclassmen, and it was a freshman in Lee who found the net when it mattered most.
“None of these girls have ever been in a championship situation in their lacrosse lives, but once we settled down we were ok and we knew we had this,” said McCormick.
Lee finished the game with three goals and Blair Greenwald added two more to power Holton-Arm’s attack all game long. It was Greenwald who scored with just under six minutes left to tie the game and set the stage for Lee’s heroics.
Holton-Arms’ three-goal onslaught to end the second half mirrored the game’s first 25 minutes of play, when National Cathedral scored the game’s first two goals before allowing three goals in the final seven minutes of the half.
“Our defense was great early on, we didn’t let them score for the first 19 minutes,” said Eagle head coach Lindsey Whelan. “But late in the game, we couldn’t possess the ball enough on attack to stop them from coming back.”
The success of a 10-8-1 win season and an appearance in the conference final is not lost on Whelan despite the disappointed conclusion of the team’s final game.
“Our goal all year was to improve…and we did that,” Whelan said. “The team that played today was a completely different team than we had at the beginning of the year.”
Despite the improvements the Eagles made, it is Holton-Arms who left the field as championships of the ISL A Wednesday night. Next year, however, Holton-Arms will be rewarded for its regular season championship by moving up to the tougher ISL AA.
“Winning a championship and moving up to the ISL AA means the girls can know that they’re good,” said McCormick. “I think we’ll do very well in the better conference, I know the girls are looking forward too it.”
Before looking forward to anything, the girls of the Holton-Arms have a night to celebrate as ISL A championships.