W.T. Woodson 10,
For the last four years in three varsity sports, W.T. Woodson's Ashley McCulloch has done little other than win.
Yesterday, in the Virginia AAA Northern Region girls' lacrosse final against visiting Oakton, McCulloch simply refused to let the Cavaliers lose.
The senior All-Met midfielder forced a turnover to set up her game-tying goal with 1 minute 22 seconds to play, then scored her fifth goal of the game with 33 seconds left to complete a dramatic comeback and deliver a 10-9 triumph.
The Cavaliers' region title is their second in a row, sixth overall and the third in McCulloch's four years. McCulloch also led Woodson's field hockey team to three region titles and one state title, earning All-Met honors in that sport this past fall. As a point guard, she helped guide the girls' basketball team to the region final in the winter.
"It's hard to say enough about her and her performance and her composure and her maturity as a player on the field," first-year Woodson girls' lacrosse coach Jenn Karr said. "She does not panic. She works harder under pressure and gets the job done."
Woodson (15-1) will play Albemarle for its sixth unofficial Virginia title Saturday. Tenth-ranked Oakton, led by seniors Katie Streckfuss (three goals, two assists) and Christina Cable (four goals), finished 15-4.
The Cougars trailed 5-4 at halftime but scored on their first five shots of the second half to take a 9-5 lead with 15:40 to play.
Woodson's defense stiffened from there and didn't allow a goal the rest of the way. Its offense, meanwhile, patiently chipped away at the lead.
"We knew the worst thing we could do was panic and start throwing away the ball or making bad passes," said McCulloch, who also had an assist. "We just had to possess and get as good a shot as possible."
McCulloch scored with 13:23 left, then, after Woodson senior goalkeeper Kim Feeney made three saves, including one on a free-position opportunity, junior Jordan Shealey scored in transition with 4:33 to play. Two minutes later, junior Michele White cut Oakton's lead to 9-8.
With less than two minutes to play and the Cougars in possession, McCulloch executed a perfect stick check to knock the ball loose from an Oakton player. McCulloch then scooped it up in Woodson territory, out-raced several Cougars and drew a foul. With 1:22 left, she buried the resulting free-position opportunity to tie the game.
McCulloch won the next draw to set up her game-winner, which she scored in traffic while being fouled.
"I had a specific girl trying to watch her, and I don't know if it's the best idea for one person, because she's the kind of player who needs 18 people to stop her from going to goal," Oakton Coach Jean Counts said of McCulloch.
"She's a fabulous player."