The Lady Panthers are going where no Starr’s Mill girls lacrosse team has gone before, punching their ticket to the state championship game with a 15-8 rout of the Westminster Wildcats Tuesday night.
“Words can’t even describe it. I don’t think I could possibly come up with the right words,” said an emotional Starr’s Mill coach Mary Lehman trying to describe how it felt to be headed to the state championship game for the first time. “It’s so amazing. I’m so proud of these girls. They’ve worked so, so hard to get to this point, and it’s paid off.”
In a battle between an established power in the four-time champion Wildcats and the rising Panthers, it was Starr’s Mill that played like a title contender.
In the first two minutes of the game, Caroline Broderick scored twice, and Jordyn Richards spun loose of the defense to make it 3-0. Broderick made it a hat trick in less than five minutes of play, and Richards added her second goal as they chased Westminster’s starting goalie. Caroline Andrews pushed the lead to 6-0 before the Wildcats ever got on the board.
The importance of a fast start is what the coaches have been preaching to the Panthers.
“These last four games, that is what we’ve focused on. We’ve got to start off strong,” said Lehman. “It’s paying off for us.”
Westminster scored three times in the first half, but goals by Jacqueline Broderick and Alyssa Angelo kept the cushion in place. Andrews struck again with just four seconds left in the half to make it a 10-3 game.
Andrews opened the second half scoring, as well. Ryanne King added a spectacular goal, absorbing a shove and firing successfully into the net as she fell backwards. Elizabeth Holley scored before Westminster put back-to-back goals on the boards to pull within 13-6.
Goals from King and Andrews put the game out of reach, and Westminster’s final goal with just one second remaining would be little help in the 15-8 final margin.
Karlee Jenks was stellar in goal for Starr’s Mill before leaving the game late with a hand injury.
A balanced offensive effort keyed by Caroline Broderick’s 4 goals saw seven Panthers score. The performance was emblematic of a team that plays for each other.
“Our theme this season has been ‘Big Team, Little Me’ and be where your feet are, and we’re going to stick with it,” said Lehman. “These girls don’t play for themselves, they play for everybody else on the team”
The win runs their record to a sterling 18-2 overall as they prepare to face the 19-2 Blessed Trinity Titans in the championship game Saturday, May 19 at noon at Kennesaw State. Blessed Trinity is the winner of the last two titles.
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