St. John’s Girls Lacrosse rolled into the SPC tournament in Fort Worth as the #1 seed from the SPC South Zone, undefeated in TGHSLL, undefeated in California, named #1 seed for the upcoming TGHSLL state tournament, and having a staggering goal differential average of +11 goals per game.
In the first round out of a pool of eight teams, the Mavericks took on Greenhill (N4). St. John’s pulled away early and coasted to an 18-4 win. Later that evening in the 8:00 p.m. game St. John’s took out Hockaday (N2) 15-6, a win included another 10-goal margin and running clock. Hockaday, the N1 seed last year, defeated St. John’s in the 2014 title game. Would the 2015 N1 seed ESD do the same?
In the semifinals ESD beat Kinkaid in overtime to reach the ‘ship. In that game the Falcons were up 5-1 at one point and lost 15-14. St. John’s had defeated Kinkaid earlier in the season 19-5 and 17-9.
As soon as the Mavericks and Eagles took the field in the championship, St. John’s got into their transition game and went up 2-0 on goals by Kara Wollmers ’16. ESD responded to make it 2-1 and--as Kinkaid had--the Mavericks went up 5-1. They seemed to have the game in hand, but ESD closed the gap to 5-3 at the half.
St. John’s had withstood other rallies from opponents--including a Woodlands’ run in the City Championship--but ESD would not go away. At 19:19 in the second half the score was knotted at five. Defense, led by Jessica Nyquist '15, dominated the play and possessions became priceless down the stretch. St. John’s goalie Winnie Brandfield-Harvey ‘16 made numerous key saves. ESD slowed the tempo and kept the ball on their offensive end for the majority of the second half, even though the Mavericks had several scoring chances. Both teams went scoreless down the stretch, and time expired in regulation.
How could St. John’s get back on the board in overtime? The answer was the draw control. Alice Chambers ’16 won three of four draws at the circle including two in overtime that led to the winning margin. Chambers won the draw in the first overtime period and St. John’s got the ball in the hands of Wollmers for what turned out to be the game winner. Off the next draw, Lindsey McKone ’16 stuck the insurance goal and the Mavericks ran out the clock on the Eagles for the title.
“It was nerve-wracking but after I won the draw in the end of regulation I knew I could get the ball where I wanted it to be in overtime and our team could execute,’’ said Chambers.
“It was the biggest bump in the season so far, and I think we needed it going into state (TGHSLL tournament),” said Nell Copeland.
“Our defense stepped up,” said Kendall Bernard ’15.
“It was a tough battle, but the girls got it going when they needed to,” said Head Coach Angie Kensinger. "I am proud of how they really took charge in the OT periods."