Mary Margaret McCaleb leads Battlefield girls’ lacrosse to Virginia Northwest Region title
By Eric Detweiler,
Mary Margaret McCaleb had already scored twice in the past minute when she won the draw and barreled down on the Forest Park defense. This time the Battlefield senior tossed a deft pass on the move to junior Emilie Barbosa for an easy score and a four-goal lead in the second half of Tuesday’s Virginia Northwest Region girls’ lacrosse final.
Whether feeding or finishing, McCaleb sparked an offense that wasted few opportunities around the net in a 14-11 win over the Bruins. She finished with four goals and two assists and Barbosa and junior Annemarie Lutz added three goals apiece to help the Bobcats claim their second straight region crown.
“It’s easier to win with teamwork,” said McCaleb, who plans to play at Old Dominion next year. “I love to take it one-on-one, but you can’t always do that. We want to be a team and keep everyone feeling positive.”
Battlefield, which will host West Central Region runner-up Albemarle in a state quarterfinal on Friday, spent much of Tuesday’s game in its defensive end, trying to get the ball back from Forest Park’s patient offense. But the Bobcats (15-3) prevailed by taking advantage of their scoring chances. They turned nine of their 10 second-half shot attempts into goals.
Forest Park (15-2) allowed a goal 25 seconds into the game and trailed the rest of the way, but the Bruins did fight back to cut the deficit to one twice in the second half.
The first time Battlefield won the ensuing draw and answered with junior Tori Clark’s goal 16 seconds later. The other time, McCaleb produced the three scores in 68 seconds that gave the Bobcats a four-goal advantage with about 10 minutes left.
“Usually teams will double- and triple-team [McCaleb], but today we had offense coming from a lot of different places,” said Coach Rice Lilley said, whose team has never advanced past the state quarterfinals. “We do that and then [opposing] teams really won’t know what to do. That’s the key for this team right now.”
Junior Heather Haight had three goals to lead Forest Park, which will travel to Western Albemarle for a Saturday state quarterfinal.
Later, the Northwestern Region boys’ final was suspended due to lightning with Battlefield leading North Stafford, 7-0. Junior Cameron Maples won all seven faceoffs he took and scored three goals before play halted with 5:21 left in the first quarter. It will resume Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. . . .
Elsewhere, the AA Northern Region boys’ final between Woodgrove and Dominion was also postponed by weather with the score knotted at 2 late in the first half. Woodgrove’s Denis Radcliffe scored with 2:07 left in the second quarter and nine seconds after the ensuing faceoff the game was suspended.
The Titans are growing accustomed to multiple-day contests. Inclement weather stretched their semifinal win at Kettle Run over three nights last week and necessitated three 73-mile roundtrips to Nokesville. Play is scheduled to resume Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Special correspondent Matt Brooks contributed to this report.