With Sunday off after posting four playoff wins in five days, St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes boys’ lacrosse players relished the chance to rest their weary legs before Monday’s Interstate Athletic Conference tournament final.
Senior Isaiah Davis-Allen, a two-way midfielder who will stay on the field until he’s called out, likely needed the break as much as anyone on the team. For the University of Maryland recruit, the down time seemed more precious because the rigorous schedule had kept him away from the Fairfax hospital where his mother, Audrey Davis, is battling lung cancer.
After spending some long-awaited time with his mother, Davis-Allen said he had her on his mind Monday when he ripped in the game-winning goal with 5 minutes 22 seconds left in a 7-5 victory over No. 4 Landon in Bethesda.
With its first-ever win over the Bears, No. 7 St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes claimed the IAC tournament title for the first time. In their six-game winning streak to close the season that also included a Virginia Independent School state title, the Saints knocked off three of the area’s top four teams.
Following an emotional postgame celebration with his teammates, Davis-Allen said he planned to head back to his mother’s bedside Monday night after a much-needed ice bath.
“She had told me to get this win and score a goal for her,” Davis-Allen said. “It means so much to be able to actually do both.”
Davis-Allen’s goal rescued St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (18-6) from disappointment. With three goals from senior Seth Miller, the Saints led by as many as three before Landon (13-7) tied it with two scores 27 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter.
After senior Garrett Fellows evened the score with his second goal, the Bears had several chances to take the lead, but senior goalie Sam Beazell (eight saves) kept it deadlocked and Davis-Allen swung the momentum back with a strong individual play.
For days, Saints Coach Andy Taibl had watched Davis-Allen pull the difficult balancing act between his team and family, at times running on little sleep. When the Saints needed a boost, the midfielder bulled down the right flank and leaped as he shot, hitting the net over the goalie’s left shoulder for his lone goal of the day and 23rd of the season.
“He deserves it,” Beazell said. “We wouldn’t want anyone else to score that goal but him.”
Junior Jones Veith added an insurance goal with 1:38 left, and the assembled students from the Alexandria private school began to gather next to the team’s bench. When the Saints finished running out the clock, the fans joined the race toward Beazell at the opposite end of the field.
St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes will split the conference title with regular season champ Georgetown Prep, which it upset to earn a spot in the final. In the aftermath, several players stood with their hands on their heads in disbelief, while junior Joe Kenna lifted Beazell triumphantly in the air, and it was clear the Saints were happy to share.
“It’s good to get one,” Taibl said. “I’ve been telling the kids for years, ‘You’re good enough. You deserve it.’ But it’s not going to work if you don’t believe it.”