Yet as each Warhawk was called out over the public address system following their 20-11 victory over Oakton in the Virginia girls’ lacrosse final at Westfield, no one received a louder ovation than Rivera-Silva, whose outstanding play in the first half set the tone for Madison’s first state championship.
Rivera-Silva made several huge saves early on, as Oakton controlled the ball on the Madison end. Each stop, though, sprung Madison’s skilled attackers into the open field and yielded the type of quick scores that epitomized the Warhawks’ dominant play all season.
“I’m really proud of my performance,” Rivera-Silva said. “There are always plays where you can turn the momentum of the game around. . . . We work really hard on our transition.”
“Her first save, especially, really allowed us to get the momentum to have a cushion to get our nerves out,” Madison Coach Amanda Counts said.
Rivera-Silva made another key save after a protracted Oakton possession, which allowed Madison to break out. The Warhawks scored again shortly thereafter on a fluke play in front of the Oakton net, where the ball seemed to go in off a Cougar. Then, Melissa Kellan found Julia Kehoe just outside the crease 25 seconds later to make it 3-0.
When Kerrigan scored again, Madison (21-0) was up 4-0 less than 6½ minutes into the game.
“She came up with a lot of big saves early for us, which was big for our confidence,” said Hahn, who had three goals and three assists. “We can play more confidently knowing we have her back there.”
Oakton (17-7) did not fold. Behind three of Carly Palmucci’s four goals, the Cougars cut Madison’s margin to 8-5 with just more than 10 minutes to go in the first half. But that’s when Rivera-Silva and Madison’s offense clicked again. Another terrific outlet pass from Rivera-Silva to Megan Bisson ultimately found its way to Kellan (three goals, five assists) just more than four minutes before halftime.
The Warhawks scored five straight goals early in the second half to seize control. When Oakton crept to 16-10 with 7½ minutes to play, Dana Beden scored the first of her three goals to quash that rally and send Madison to the title.