As most of her Good Counsel teammates cleared the sideline at Ludwig Field following Monday’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference girls’ lacrosse final, goalie Meagh Graham lingered with several other seniors next to an orange water cooler.
After a 16-9 comeback win over Bishop Ireton, the third-ranked Falcons had already gleefully hoisted the WCAC trophy for the ninth time in 10 years and changed into white conference champion T-shirts, but for the veteran players, the celebration wasn’t quite finished.
When Coach Michael Haight finished talking with one reporter and headed to meet another, Graham and Co. attacked, dousing the coach with a flood of icy water. Haight, outfitted in a blue dress shirt and tie, held his ground, allowing for a direct hit.
“All the girls that came before us [at Good Counsel] always said, ‘You’ll never forget a moment like this,” Graham said. “The [seven] seniors wanted to win this for our teammates and for the girls to come. This is how we want to be remembered.”
A three-year starter after missing her freshman season with a knee injury, Graham had split her first two WCAC final appearances in net. In 2011, she watched the seniors pull the same move on Haight after Good Counsel demolished rival Holy Cross for the title, 22-3.
Last spring, the Virginia Tech recruit was in goal when the Falcons fell to the Tartans in the final, 9-4, to snap their 90-game conference winning streak.
A 2012 U.S. Lacrosse all-American, Graham was the backbone of a defense that allowed less than seven goals per game this year. On Monday, she made seven saves as Good Counsel erased a halftime deficit with a strong closing kick.
Midway through the second half, Graham made a save that stopped Bishop Ireton’s chance to tie it at eight and turned into a goal by freshman Lexi Rieu on the other end. The Falcons scored the next six goals from there to take command.
“This year, we knew what we had to lose,” said Graham, the lone goalie on the WCAC first team. “We knew the feeling of losing, and we knew we were never going to let that happen again.”
In the fall, Graham will head to Virginia Tech along with her best friend, defender Sammi Wilson. The pair committed a week apart in the fall of 2011. They expect to be joined with the Hokies for the 2015 season by Graham’s sister Paige, a junior attacker who had three goals and two assists against Bishop Ireton.
Graham’s list of suitors included Navy, Duke, James Madison and Boston University. Virginia Tech doesn’t have the championship pedigree of her high school team, but the Hokies have finished .500 or better for three straight seasons following 10 straight non-winning campaigns.
“Virginia Tech was home,” Graham said. “I stepped on campus, and I just knew it. They’re building their program, and I knew I wanted to be a part of something like that. I just can’t wait to get there and hopefully leave another mark.”