Lacrosse is often a sport of runs, but the girls’ teams at No. 1-ranked Cardinal Gibbons and No. 3 Apex traded goals in a match that ended about as close as you’ll find to a buzzer-beater decision.
Cardinal Gibbons’ Morgan Winstead scored with 13 seconds to play and then Crusaders goalie Morgan Sinclair recorded her 15th save of the night with six seconds remaining to preserve a 15-14 victory over Apex in a non-conference match Monday night at Gibbons’ field.
“That was epic,” Gibbons coach Patricia Alexander said. “We knew it would be a 1- or 2-goal match and we were prepared for a game to go down to the wire. But I didn’t know it would be the final seconds.”
Alexander called a timeout with 31 seconds to play after the Crusaders’ gained possession on an out-of-of bounds call. She instructed her players to get the ball to leading-scorer Jordan Lappin on top of the goal, but when the defense forced Lappin away from the net, she fed Winstead on the right side. Winstead circled behind the net, emerged on the left crease and scored.
“We were able to reverse the ball and I was open,” Winstead said. “I’m usually successful going around the crease and nailing it in the opposite corner of the net because it’s hard for the goalie to get there. So I didn’t even look at the goalie and just nailed it in the corner.”
Turning point: In a match with 12 ties, the ultimate turning point was Sinclair’s final save to prevent overtime.
“Morgan won the game for us,” said Winstead of her teammate with the same first name.
Sinclair added it was the first time in her career she had to make a match-saving stop in the final 10 seconds.
Apex goalie Carrie Studdard also was spectacular in the net with 11 saves.
They said it: “The goalies were phenomenal,” Apex coach Mike Bagnasco said. “Our goalie didn’t need to take a loss because we didn’t take care of the ball and lost it out of bounds. We owed her more.”
Three who mattered
Jordan Lappin, Gibbons: She led the Crusaders with six goals, scoring four in the first half. Her first five goals tied the match each time; her final score gave the Crusaders’ a 12-10 lead with 17:25 to play.
Mia Castagnero, Apex: The Richmond-bound commit scored a match-high seven goals, with four in the first half.
Meredith Chapman, Apex: She tallied three first-half goals to contribute to a 9-8 halftime lead and four goals in all.
Records: The match was a non-conference battle, but it provided Cardinal Gibbons with area bragging rights and likely the edge in the seeding meeting for the post-season.
Cardinal Gibbons improved to 13-1 overall to go with an 8-0 record in Conference 5. Apex dropped to 10-2 overall and 10-0 in Conference 3.
“We have a nice local rivalry,” Alexander said. “We’ll probably see each other again.”