For the third consecutive year, the Winston Churchill High School girls lacrosse team faced Sherwood in the Class 4A/3A West Region championship game.
And for the third straight spring, Churchill defeated the Warriors to advance to a state semifinal.
On Wednesday, the Bulldogs erased a five-goal deficit and won a thrilling 20-19 contest in Sandy Spring. They are scheduled to to play North Region victor Westminster Saturday at Franklin High School.
“This is even a better feeling than the other two times because of a few things we’ve been through,” said Bulldogs coach Christen Gjeldum, who has coached the Potomac school to the region final in each of her four seasons and compiled a 55-7 record. The team, however, has been outscored 42-5 in two state semifinal appearances. “This was a big thing too since it was our first time on the road [in the region title game].”
Churchill junior Bailey Boyland scored two-late goals and recorded a team-high six tallies. Teammate Mairin Hall scored five times. Sherwood was paced by juniors Maddie Doan (8 goals) and standout Emily Kenul (6), who did not score in the second half after the Bulldogs altered their defense and had Chrissy Kennedy shadow her.
“This is all just amazing,” Boyland said. “To do it three years in a row is so cool.”
The back-and-forth contest saw Sherwood (12-2) take an early 6-1 advantage and it led 13-11 at halftime. The Warriors also led 17-15 with 14 minutes, 34 seconds remaining following a free position goal by Doan.
But Churchill began to dominate offensive possession and Boyland tied the game at 17 at the 10:16 mark before giving her team the lead for good 113 seconds later.
“Bailey played her best game of her life tonight,” Hall said. “She single-handedly took the momentum from them.”
The advantage was extended to 20-17 before Sherwood scored two goals in the final 98 seconds to account for the final difference.
“The biggest problem, especially against a dangerous offensive team in a high-scoring game, was the draw,” Warriors coach Kelly Hughes said. “They are very good at that.”
Damascus’ season ends
The top-seeded Swarmin’ Hornets lost 20-5 to No. 2 Century in the Class 3A/2A West Region final.
Junior Cassidy Shollenberger scored three goals to pace Damascus.
Despite the defeat, Damascus (14-1) concluded its best season in school history. It dominated the competition in Montgomery County and did not allow more than eight goals during a victory.
“[Century is] obviously one of the best teams in the state, but I also didn’t think we played our best,” coach Jodi Hathaway said. “We were a little scared and it showed. We were dropping balls, turning it over and making plays we never even worked on.”
Century (16-1), which has only lost to Baltimore-area private school power McDonogh, was Damascus’ toughest opponent this spring and Hathaway said she felt that was one of the primary reasons for her team’s lack of success.
“Our regular season schedule does not challenge or help us get prepared for difficult games deep in the playoffs,” Hathaway said. “At this point, I am glad we are winning so much, but I am ready for us to take it to the next level and we need to figure out a way to do that. The county is putting us at a disadvantage since it is so hard to schedule out-of-county opponents because we have to sign a two-year contract.”
Holton-Arms’ ends on a high note
The Panthers used to be one of the finest programs in the entire Washington, D.C. region, but in recent years, they have struggled.
This spring, the private school team moved down to the Independent School League’s A division and experienced great success under first-year coach Janet McCormick. After losing its first three games of the season, the Panthers (11-4) won 11 of its final 12 contests.
On Wednesday, top-seeded Holton-Arms defeated National Cathedral, 6-5, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal to capture the league’s tournament title.
Freshman Olivia Lee scored the game-winning goal in the final seconds.
Holton-Arms, by virtue of its regular season title, will move back up to the ISL’s AA division next year.
Winston Churchill 20, Sherwood 19
Churchill 11 9 — 20
Sherwood 13 6 — 19
ScoringChurchill (13-2): Mairin Hall 5, Bailey Boyland 6, Maddy Flax 3, Megan Brody 4, Emily Muscarella 2
Sherwood (12-2): Emily Kenul 6, Maddie Doan 8, Natalie Sebeck 1, Madi Eli 2, Taylor Polhemus 2