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St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, with clutch play, adds another ISL lacrosse crown

Saints 10, Gators 9

Ella Webb, shown during a St. Stephen's/St. Agnes game in April, was key to her team's offense late in Saturday's ISL championship. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

While attending St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes as a seventh grader, Iman Haddad was seeking a spring sport when her mother, Rebecca, had a suggestion.

“I think St. Stephen’s is really good at lacrosse,” she said. “You should just try it out, see if you like it.”

Haddad soon became enamored with playing goalkeeper. After St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes’s 10-9 win over Stone Ridge on Saturday afternoon, the senior’s final play will be remembered in the program’s lore.

With the Saints leading by a goal with just over a minute remaining in the Independent School League AA division championship game, Stone Ridge attempted a point-blank shot that seemed destined to send the game into overtime. Haddad saved it, securing St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes’s 22nd ISL title in the 23 seasons the league has maintained records.

After the coronavirus forced the cancellation of the past two ISL postseasons, Haddad and her teammates left their legacies on the D.C. area’s most accomplished program.

“I was just like, ‘Don’t let them score. You have to stop the ball,’ ” Haddad said at Potomac School in McLean. “My mind went black for a little bit. I glanced over at the clock, and there were three seconds left, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, we won this game.’ ”

The start of this season was uncharacteristic for St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (19-4), but the frequent national power enters next week’s Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs having won 15 of its past 16 games.

The beginning of Saturday’s game was also unusual: The Saints fell behind 3-0. Midfielder Emmy Pascal looked up to St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes players when she was in middle school, and with a chance to continue their tradition, the senior scored four goals in the first half’s final 14 minutes to give the Saints a 5-3 halftime edge.

“There’s definitely a lot of pressure, especially on the three returning starters from last year,” Pascal said. “There was a lot of pressure to lead the team and just pick up where we left off last year. But honestly, I think that the pressure only made us rise to the occasion.”

Stone Ridge (16-7) continued to test St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, obtaining a 9-8 lead with 6:07 remaining. Saints attacker Ella Webb scored about two minutes later, and with 2:19 to play, the senior attacked from the left wing and bounced the ball into the goal to reclaim St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes’s lead for good.

When Webb began attending the Alexandria private school in fifth grade, she never expected to be a leader for the powerhouse. Instead, she focused on small improvements for a chance to contribute.

“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Webb said. “I’m so happy that I get to be a part of something like this.”

Episcopal wins A division

In the A division championship game, also in McLean, Episcopal upset top-seeded National Cathedral, 14-13, in overtime.