For the 2016 season St. John's has had a proven formula for success. Score early, get a large lead, and let the clock run. They did it for 12 games leading up to the state tournament and in the first two rounds prior to reaching the finals against ESD, a team the Mavericks defeated 12-3 last weekend in the SPC championship game. In the start of the final game the formula looked to be copied once more after Lindsey McKone '16 scored the first goal of the championship with less than 30 seconds off the clock. Kara Wollmers '16 made it 2-0 at the 19:56 mark and the Mavericks were off to the races once more.
ESD however pulled the plug on the Mavericks' surge with three consecutive goals by Charlotte North to take a one goal lead with 11:42 in the half. Kate Copeland '17 tied it up with less than 10 minutes to go in the first period, and along with McKone, added two more for a 5-3 Maverick lead and some breathing room. With 8 seconds left North got free for another score to cut it to 5-4 going into the halftime break.
The Eagles started the second period with another flurry of scores to take their first lead of the contest (6-5) with 22:10 to go. McKone tied it up seconds later, and was later called for a yellow card with 19:45 to go. With St. John's down a player, ESD's Jay Brown took advantage of the numbers for a 7-6 Eagles lead with 19:03 remaining. ESD added two more to go up 9-6 as the Mavericks were on their heels.
"We came out knowing that we needed to let go of the expectations about our previous big win over ESD at SPC," said Alice Chambers '16. "There were times this season when we scored three goals in a minute so we knew that the game was not over by a long shot."
Kate Copeland cut it to 9-7 with 12:04 in the game. ESD received a yellow card at the 7:17 mark, but St. John's could not capitalize as the Eagles took possession and were determined to run out the clock.
"It was a team effort and we had faith in our team that we could pull it out," said Kate Copeland.
The Mavericks would not give in as they regained possession with over three minutes to go. On the next offensive play McKone swept to her left for an unassisted goal with 2:51 on the clock to get the Maverick fans back on their feet. St. John's found a way to get the ball on the next draw, and with almost one minute to go, Wollmers found Audrey Ledbetter '18 on the doorstep to tie it at nine with a little more than a minute remaining.
"I made eye contact with Kara and she passed it to me and we knew that was the moment we were going to tie the game," said Ledbetter.
ESD won the next draw control and looked to get the ball to North to close it out. St. John's defender Reese Vogel '17 shut her off denying her an offensive possession as time expired in regulation.
"I knew the game was going down to the end and I gave it my all to deny North the ball and make the game at least stay tied until we had a chance to win," said Vogel.
With the new golden goal rule in place this season, the first goal scored in OT would be the game winner. St. John's got their chance with a possession of the ensuing overtime draw and worked the offense for a shot which was saved. On the redefend the Mavericks regained possession and Wollmers got the ball, dodged to the crease, and found Jennifer Trieschman '16 open on the eight meter for the game winner.
"It was a different game today," said Trieschman. "We fought for our goals. I stuck to the basics catching it right handed and found the open net."
"I don't think there was a doubt in our mind that we were going to come back because we were so disciplined," said McKone, the game MVP for St. John's. "We never looked at the scoreboard. We just knew that we needed to get the ball in the net and we did it."
"The girls have worked so hard this season starting after captain Mary Pat Patrizi '16 was out," said assistant coach Clayton Crum '08. "They fought for it and came back."
The two (SPC/TGHSLL) titles won this season makes it the 13th consecutive year St. John’s has won a SPC and/or a TGHSLL state title.
Sam Chambers - Athletic News