8 for State

Sam Chambers
Houston, 5/8/2011
After claiming their 7th SPC crown a week before, St. John’s Girls’ Lacrosse wins their 8th State Championship with an 11-10 win over Cy-Fair.

A rematch from last year’s finals in which the Mavericks prevailed 12-6, the 2011 final had all of the cards in Cy-Fair’s favor.  The Iron Maidens were the number 1 seed, played 1 less game on Saturday to get to the final, and had already defeated the Mavericks in the regular season and in the City championship game.  St. John’s received an at-large bid to the tournament and had to defeat Austin Bowie 18-2 and Dallas Hockaday 12-9 on Saturday while Cy-Fair cruised into the championship with a 19-10 win over Dallas Ursuline Academy. 
After a slow start, the Mavericks, under the leadership of 15-year head coach Angie Kensinger, took command, using all of their players to take a 5-3 lead going into the half.
“The stands are full, the crowd is rabid, and after a slow start, the second half is going to be ours,” boasted David Hendricks, who was making his presence known at this last contest of his 1 year tour of duty as Interim Athletic Director.
Good to his word, St. John’s opened up its biggest margin--6-3--just minutes into the second period from a fast break goal by Sarah Urdahl (’12) from Martha Daniel (’13), who had spent most the spring on the Junior Varsity, and got the call to move up when the playoffs began. 
“I focused on winning each personal battle,” said Daniel.  “I’m so lucky I got pulled up and I tried to make the most of it.”
The Iron Maidens eventually closed the gap to 6-4, but Amanda Leavell (’13) found the net for St. John’s to go back up by 3.  Cy-Fair scored 2 unanswered goals and it was 7-6 with 16:14 to go.  St. John’s Caroline Gibson (’11) made it 8-6 minutes later, but Cy Fair scored again with 12:42 to go and St. John’s hung on to a 1 goal lead for the next 6 minutes.  Gibson put the Mavs up by 2 with 6:34 to go, but once again Cy-Fair responded and scored two more to tie it up with 4:48 remaining.
With 3:39 on the clock and the game knotted at 9, the ball was loose in Cy-Fair’s offensive side of the field.  Cy Fair had two chances to find possession, but Daniel, who already had an assist for St. John’s, came up with her most significant stat of the year.  Cy-Fair had the momentum and was on their way to scoring a third unanswered goal, until the former JV player scooped up a loose ball to hold off the Cy-Fair surge.  St. John’s regained possession, yet lost it again when Cy Fair’s senior All-American, Delaney Fischer, blocked a pass and began her sprint towards the Maverick goal.  This time, another sophomore came up with a huge play.  Leavell checked the ball out of Delaney’s stick, and in a matter of seconds, the ball went the other way and Grace Dennis (’11) scored the 10th goal for St. John’s with 2:09 left.  Urdahl, who had taken every draw in the game, won the next one and found Jessica Carroll (’11) who fed Robby Rybarczyk (’13) for an 11-9 lead.   Cy-Fair scored with 22.5 seconds to make it 11-10, and Urdahl would be put to the test once again.
“The last draw was scary but I wanted it and did what I had to do,” said Urdahl, who gained possession and put the ball in the hands of the Mavericks best stick handler, Carroll, who then ran out the clock for St. John’s 8th state title.
Assistant coach Shawn McDonald summed up the game: “The girls wanted it.”
Gibson, St. John’s leading scorer with 3 tallies, won the Offensive MVP of the game.  Dennis, Leavell, and Urdahl had 2 goals apiece while Carroll and Rybarczyk scored once.  Surrounded by the Maverick defense, led by Sarah Duncan (’11), Lily Bernicker (’11), Sarah Cordill (’12),  Alexa Mullins (’12) and Natalie Plummer (‘13), goalie Kelsey Duncombe-Smith (‘11) had 13 saves on the day. Together the defensive unit and Urdahl, voted USLacrosse South Region Player of the Week, put on a stalwart performance down the stretch, giving the offense the chances they needed to preserve a winning legacy that the St. John’s’ fans and players will hold in their hearts for a lifetime.

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