Cardinal Gibbons had the MVP and a goal that people will be talking about for years and years, but came up just short in Saturday’s N.C. High School Athletic Association girls lacrosse championship.
After forcing overtime on a buzzer-beating goal at the end of regulation, the Crusaders lost 17-15 to Lake Norman in overtime. The Crusaders (19-2) were outscored 3-1 in overtime. No team ever led by more than three goals.
“Going into overtime it comes down to grinding it out and getting possession of the ball,” Gibbons’ first-year coach Patricia Alexander said. “I feel so proud. I can’t even be sad.”
After being tied at 5-all at halftime, Lake Norman (18-2) and Gibbons were tied 13-all late in regulation. The Wildcats held the ball for much of the last two minutes and scored with 19 seconds to go on a Kieran Rinaldi 8-meter free position shot.
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After a violation on the ensuing draw, Gibbons was awarded possession, got into transition and drew their own 8-meter free position shot with 7 seconds left. Jordan Lappin’s shot was saved, kicking out to Morgan Winstead. Winstead passed it over the middle to Erica Skowron, who took her stick and swatted the ball into the net just as time expired to send the game into overtime 14-all.
“You’ve got to love busted plays and you practice those all the time – not a perfect situation, how do you come out of that?,” Alexander said.
Alexander said her team’s hand-eye coordination was on fully display as Skowron’s quick stick redirected a pass.
“I knew it was going to be close,” Skowron said. “I was just excited to get one last shot in.”
Lappin, who ended with six goals and two assists, was named MVP despite the score. Skowron had four goals and one assist. Winstead (one goal, one assist), Elizabeth Wilson (one goal) and Sarah Comstock (three goals) rounded out the Crusaders’ scoring.
The Crusaders, who were making their first appearance in the NCHSAA title, got a standout game from freshman goalie Gabby Young, who was making just her second start of the year. Starter Morgan Sinclair tore her ACL in the fourth round in a 17-16 win against Apex.
“I think we fought really hard,” Lappin said. “We came up short but we’re going to work really hard next year. Hopefully we’ll win this next year.”
Lake Norman’s Rinaldi had had seven goals, Carly Vaccaro added five and Julianna Dworschak (three assists) had two. RosaLee Schiemer (one assist) and Michella Chester (two goals) rounded out the Wildcats’ scoring.