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St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes beats Bullis in ISL field hockey tournament final

By Greg Schimmel,

St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes senior forward Mollie Lane knew there would only be so many opportunities to score.

Bullis, the Saints’ opponent in the Independent School League field hockey tournament final Sunday, had allowed one goal or fewer in each of its 17 games this season. So when the Saints failed to score on five straight penalty corners early in the second half, it felt as if they were running out of chances to make one count.

“It’s so important to capitalize on those opportunities,” Lane said. “Every time we get a corner, or every time we get it into the circle, we have to have somebody there trying to get it in.”

Lane finally broke through on a broken play after the Saints’ sixth corner of the second half, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Bullis at Episcopal.

The win gave the Saints (17-4-1) their 10th tournament title in the past 11 seasons, and stopped Bullis (17-1) — the league’s regular season champion for the first time in school history — from completing what would have been its first undefeated season.

“We wanted to beat them so bad because they beat us during the regular season last year and this year,” Saints senior forward Wyatt Whitley said. “Finally beating them, in the ISL final, is just a great feeling.”

The Saints had also played 17 straight games without allowing more than one goal this year, and the team’s defensive prowess showed again Sunday.

Most of the action near either cage came during the Saints’ sustained possession just after halftime, when they kept drawing corner after corner.

Bullis sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Holliday made five saves during that stretch, repeatedly denying Whitley, Lane and the Saints’ typically prolific offense.

“[Holliday] is my best-kept secret,” Bullis Coach Julie Delinsky said. “Most teams don’t get to see what she’s got that much. She had an incredible game and came through for us.”

The goal came after Saints senior forward Margaret Tucker Fogarty saved a ball from going out of bounds with a pass to Whitley, who found Lane near the goal to poke it past Holliday.

Bullis’s best chance to score came when senior Idrienne Walker fired a high shot after a corner late in the second half, but Saints goalie Ellie Majure made the save to preserve her shutout.

Minutes later, the final whistle blew and the Saints mobbed each other near midfield to celebrate yet another tournament championship.

“We have a cheer at halftime that says ‘She who has the will to win never will be beaten,’ ” Saints Coach Marsha Way said. “We say it, do it, and believe in it. We tapped into that inner strength to get in the game. I have a lot of respect for our kids.”

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