Our Lady of Good Counsel field hockey coach Theda Bagdon had a simple message for her players prior to Thursday night’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game, the fifth straight year the Falcons matched up with Academy of Holy Cross in the season finale.
“Everybody has to try just a little bit harder, do just a little bit better, think just a little deeper, work just a little longer,” she said.
It’s former gymnast Mary Lou Retton’s quote, and from the looks of how the game turned out, with Good Counsel shedding the runner-up moniker that has haunted it for the past half decade, it did just the trick.
When the Tartans tied it up 1-1 in the second half, they dug just a little deeper, holding on to extend the game to overtime. When Holy Cross fired in 12 shots on goalie Caroline Campbell, the keeper tried just a little bit harder. And when Elaine McCabe deked Holy Cross goalie Kathleen Mauck with 2 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in overtime, Good Counsel rose just one notch higher.
“I told them, I said, ‘Every single time you feel one ounce of pulling back, think I have to work a little harder, I have to think a little deeper,’” Bagdon said. “The chemistry and the heart of this team, and the undying support for each other, there’s no girl — it’s awesome. There’s no division.”
The victory has been a long time coming for Good Counsel. Bagdon watched her team relinquish a 2-0 second-half lead last year to lose 3-2 in overtime, and a player was sent off during the extra period, making it seven on six. The 2009 championship went to extra minutes as well, and that one ended in a 1-0 overtime victory in Holy Cross’s favor. Two years later, the title was decided by another one-goal margin, a 2-1 Tartans victory.
“I am so happy right now,” Campbell said. “We have been to so many championships and we have worked so hard in the off-season and regular season and this team is so close and we wanted it so badly. We put it all on the field and we’re so happy.”
Just down the road at James H. Blake there was another postseason tilt providing some free field hockey. The Bengals, hosting Springbrook, went to overtime before knocking in the game-winner. They advanced to top-seeded Sherwood on Monday night (results came in after deadline). In the round previous, in which Col. Zadok Magruder and Gaithersburg were the lone game in the 4A West, the Trojans took two additional frames to finally top the Colonels. No. 1 seeded Quince Orchard proceeded to knock them out in the ensuing round, 5-0.
While Stone Ridge’s 2-1 victory over St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes on Thursday wasn’t quite the watershed win being had by Good Counsel, it was similar in nature. The Saints are the owners of 10 of the past 11 Independent School League titles, and though it was only a regular season matchup, the win certainly raised an eyebrow or two, especially with playoffs just a week away.
A pair of Good Counsel runners had a banner day Saturday in the WCAC cross country championships at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston, Va. Sophomore Megan Crilly took home the girls’ individual championship by running the course in a time of 20:55.06, while senior Collin Crilly won the boys’ race with a time of 16:27.57. Overall, Good Counsel’s girls finished second at the meet with 47 points, seven behind Bishop O’Connell as Cosette Riley (21:13) finished fourth and Cassidy Burke (21:15) placed fifth, The Falcons boys won the team title by two points over Gonzaga, as they had five runners finish in the top 12 (Crilly, Jack Wavering, Tyler Richards, Matt Lopez, Kevin McGivern). Even the two runners who didn’t score performed remarkably well as Miguel Alonso and Jeff Moxley finished 16th and 17th, respectively.
Holton-Arms School junior No. 1 singles player Lilly Lynham might not have physically won her match against Bullis’ Ines Vias in Thursday’s season-ending Independent School League “AA” Division tournament final but her just being on the court at Madeira (Virginia) was vital to Holton’s ninth title in 10 years.
Lynham was rather sick Thursday but this year’s ISL tournament took on a new structure — dual matches rather than separate brackets per position. If Lynham sat out Thursday’s final, everyone down the Panthers’ ladder would have to move up a spot. Holton, which defeated St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (6-1) and National Cathedral School (4-3) in the first and second rounds won the final, 5-2 Thursday.
“I was very tempted not to play [Lynham] because she was in pain but she asked me to play in the last match so she played at her request, not mine,” Holton coach Yann Auzoux said. “In this particular format, that makes a big difference. Last year it wouldn’t have made a big difference because we probably would’ve been in good position in every other position.”
Bullis won the top two singles courts — last year’s ISL No. 1 singles champion Vias avenged a regular-season loss to Lynham with a win Thursday — but Holton won third and fourth singles and swept the doubles. Maya Das’ win at No. 3 singles Thursday capped an undefeated 2013. Jillian Lawler won at No. 4. Holton’s No. 1 doubles team consisted of Karsyn Lawler and Elise Lovett and Susan Darvishi and Sophie Gary won on the second doubles court. The team’s only two seniors, Lauren Di Franco and Lauren Ahn won the third doubles match.
Auzoux credits Holton’s dominance of the league the past decade with the programs that have been implemented for younger athletes at the school, helping prepare them to feed into the varsity squad.
“I think what we’ve managed to do is establish a good system for the girls to go through,” Auzoux said.
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