The James H. Blake High School girls lacrosse team is back in the playoffs because of the use of an ineligible Walter Johnson player.
On Saturday, Walter Johnson defeated the Bengals 14-12 in the quarterfinal round of the Class 4A/3A West Region tournament, but Wildcats’ senior captain Bryn Molloy, who scored eight goals, played illegally.
Blake was awarded the forfeit victory at approximately 9 p.m. Sunday and is scheduled to play at Winston Churchill at 5 p.m. Monday.
During Walter Johnson’s first round victory over Springbrook, Molloy was whistled for two yellow cards and was suspended from the game.
By Montgomery County rule, if a player receives two yellow cards during a single contest, a red card is then awarded and the offending player must also sit out the ensuing game.
Since the infractions occurred during a state tournament game, however, the initial ruling that allowed Molloy to play was debated. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association follows U.S. Lacrosse regulations and its rules only suspend a player for the remainder of the current game if she receives two yellow cards. No additional punishment is given.
“The county is allowed to make rules stricter,” region director Mary Pat Veihmeyer said. “About half the counties in the state [abide by the same rules as Montgomery County]. … It is tricky, but the Montgomery County rule superseded U.S. Lacrosse’s.
“I’ve never seen this happen before so I assume Walter Johnson just made a mistake.”
Walter Johnson coach Chrissy Yetter did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment late Sunday night. On Saturday, she said she didn’t believe any rules were violated.
“We looked and didn’t see any rule preventing Bryn from playing,” Yetter said at the time.
The forfeit now sends the third-seeded Bengals and No. 2 Churchill scrambling. The Bulldogs defeated Blake 18-16 early in the regular season.
“Once I knew this could happen, I told the girls to be ready,” Blake coach Janis Maloney said. “It is obviously not ideal and a hectic situation, but we had to be prepared.”
“Either way it didn’t really matter who we were going to play because both teams are really good,” Churchill coach Christen Gjeldum said. “It doesn’t really change much.”