With her Yorktown girls’ lacrosse team possessing a large lead early in the second half Saturday afternoon, Coach Jenny Tran stepped to the top of the sideline to calm her players on offense.
In an Arlington County school’s first appearance in the Virginia Class 6 girls’ championship game, Yorktown made a statement with its 18-8 win over Battlefield at Champe High in Aldie.
“It shows that Yorktown has kind of gotten over that hump,” said midfielder Emily Stafford, who was one of four Yorktown players to score at least three goals. “We’re here, and then we want to stay here as well. We can compete with anyone.”
Wins such as Saturday’s hadn’t usually come easy for Yorktown (19-4). When Tran started in September 2017, the Patriots had finished 8-9 the previous season.
After Tran began fall workouts, Yorktown improved to 12-4 her first season. Many of this year’s seniors played on Yorktown’s junior varsity team as eighth-graders in 2018.
With one of Yorktown’s most talented rosters this season, Tran made a declaration to her players in September.
“This is the year where we rise,” Tran recalled saying, “and we make a name of ourselves.”
To accomplish that objective, Yorktown would need to beat Langley, the Class 6 champion in 2019 and 2021. The Patriots built confidence by defeating the Saxons on May 17 for their first Liberty District title. In Tuesday’s semifinals, Yorktown defeated Langley again, 11-10, with a late comeback.
“Langley’s reign is over, and it’s our turn,” attacker Ainsley Burke said. “There’s definitely a change of momentum.”
Against Battlefield (18-3), Yorktown built a 10-1 lead late in the first half. With just over 10 minutes remaining, Tran called a timeout after the Bobcats cut her team’s deficit to eight.
“I’m not satisfied right now,” Tran told her players in a huddle.
Yorktown responded by regaining a 10-goal lead with about four minutes left and restarting the running clock.
Entering high school, Burke had no expectations of winning a state title. But when the clock hit zero, the senior tossed the ball across the turf before her teammates mobbed her near the 40-yard line.
“We wanted this since our freshman year, and we’ve come such a long way,” Burke said. “Going into this season, we said we want a ring. So then we just gave it our all all season and gave it our all today, and we came up with it.”