Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bulldogs’ positive season ends

Visitation ousts Bullis in ISL AA lacrosse semifinals

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The sunniest season in recent memory for Bullis’ girls lacrosse team came to an end on a rainy and unseasonably cold Sunday on its home field, in the Independent School League AA division semifinals.

After barreling through the season, winning 15 of 17 games, the third-seeded Bulldogs took on Georgetown Visitation and its talented senior attacker, Mary Lacey Gilbride. Gilbride scored three goals as the Cubs won, 10-4, to move on to the ISL AA final, where they met top-seeded St. Stephen’s⁄St. Agnes Tuesday.

Bullis’ season is over, but it was a season to remember.

‘‘The girls that we have here are excited,” Bullis coach Kathleen Lloyd said. ‘‘They knew that coming into this season we had talent, and they used it. We are disappointed, and it’s hard to look past this game, but almost the entire team in coming back next season.”

The one player not coming back next year is goalie Christina Roa, and she will be missed by the Bulldogs (15-3 overall). The margin might have been even greater Sunday of it wasn’t for Roa, who used every part of her body and stick to stop hard shots from the Cubs.

During a four-minute stretch in the first half, she made six saves, frustrating Visitation. But in that period, the Bulldogs could not close the gap. That task got harder when junior midfielder Alex Aust, one of their leading scorers, received her second yellow card midway through the first half. Sent off the field, she was ineligible to return.

‘‘That definitely did not help us,” Lloyd said. ‘‘We wanted to pick it up, but we just couldn’t.”

That did not deter Roa. After Chelsea Gleason and Dina Jackson scored to cut the Cubs lead to three, Roa kept them off the board for the remainder of the first half. Yet in the second half, she could not stop Georgetown Visitation’s attack to the net, and surrendered three goals in 10 minutes.

Though Jackson scored again, and sophomore Marion Smith underscored Bullis’s tenacity by scoring a goal as the buzzer sounded at the end of the game, the team was never able to properly challenge Georgetown Visitation again. With a lead, the Cubs controlled the ball and the clock until the end. Still, Roa came off the field happy with her effort, and the effort of her team. The younger players will return, and though she will not, she saw bright days ahead for her teammates and herself.

‘‘This was an inspirational season,” she said. ‘‘This team became a family. Everyone is equal and everyone loves lacrosse.”

In addition, she took a life lesson from her time between the pipes. Roa will play at Colgate (N.Y.) University next year, and is looking forward to the challenge of helping it back to the NCAA tournament.

‘‘I can’t wait,” she said. ‘‘What I have learned is that it’s all about starting over. If you let in a goal, or make a great save, you have to put it out of your mind and get ready for the next shot. I am ready for college.”