Southern's Christie Kilpatrick and her teammates celebrated a 12-7 victory over Loch Raven in the 2A/1A semifinals on Saturday. But the senior attack admitted she would be a little sad, win or lose, after the last game of the season: the state final Tuesday against Century of Carroll County.
Ten seniors -- including eight starters -- have been playing together since they first picked up lacrosse sticks about 10 years ago, and the championship game at the University of Maryland Baltimore County was to be their last together. Southern's coach, Linda Kilpatrick -- Christie's mom -- also will have guided her team for the final time during an 18-year career, in which she led the team to Class B titles from 1987 to 1989.
"It's going to be very emotional, that's for sure," said Christie Kilpatrick. "All the seniors are such good friends, and we've known each other pretty much our whole lives, and we have one more game left."
The Bulldogs (10-6) have had plenty to be happy about this season. Entering the week, they were one victory from the school's first state title in 15 years and were finally getting the recognition they feel they deserve as the only Anne Arundel County girls' lacrosse team still in the playoffs.
Linda Kilpatrick, who has compiled a record of 167-99, said it's already been a great season, regardless of the outcome of the title game. Southern had come up short in each of its seven previous trips to the state tournament.
"I've seen most of the girls on my team grow up and seen how good friends they've become," she said. "Our goal all year was to get to the state championship, and we reached that goal."
Southern -- Anne Arundel County's smallest public school -- struggled during the regular season, largely because it played in a league that includes Broadneck, Severna Park, South River and Annapolis, which are among the best girls' lacrosse teams in the state. Southern does not face any of those teams in the 2A/1A playoffs, and those other teams all have been eliminated in other classifications.
"We knew we would take our lumps against those teams, but it's good for us because it gets us ready for the playoffs," the coach said. "The playoffs are our real season, and we have to play teams that are 12-1 and 12-2, and they're not as good as the teams we play in our county, so we're really prepared."
"During the regular season we get overlooked because of teams like Broadneck and Severna Park," Christie Kilpatrick said. "But now we're getting all the headlines and the attention because we're the only team that made it to the championship game."