Mary Pat Veihmeyer never coached this year’s captains of the Whitman girls’ lacrosse team, but they always recognized the name.
And even if they had never played for “Ms. V,” as she was known to generations of Vikings, they understood the significance of the moment she handed off the 4A/3A West region title plaque to the Whitman captains after a 15-7 win against Wootton.
Veihmeyer, who serves as a district representative for the state lacrosse committee, started the Whitman girls’ lacrosse program 22 years ago and was the coach the last time the Vikings reached this level.
“She told us that it had been an amazing time watching us this season and how great it was for us to come this far,” senior captain Annabelle Scully said.
The idea of reaching a state tournament was a far-fetched one when Scully and the rest of the Vikings seniors joined the program as freshmen. The Vikings’ heyday of 1996 to 2004 featured a 96-game winning streak against county schools under Veihmeyer.
Then the streak ended in 2005, and with that came consecutive losing seasons until last year’s 8-6 finish.
This year’s team, encouraged by second-year coaches and sisters Katie and Lindsay Bitonti, has turned that around. The impact was evident by the end of the first half. The Vikings (13-2), known as more of a second-half team throughout the regular season, were up by six in the first 20 minutes.
“We came out here with so much more intensity,” Scully said. “Our coaches always say we need to be playing for the full 50 minutes, and today that’s what we did.”
The Vikings will meet Severna Park, which won against Leonardtown, 15-5, in the state semifinals.
Whitman visited Wootton (8-8) at the beginning of April and won, 14-10. The Vikings took an early and confident lead on the skilled shooting of sophomore Jenna Hosker and junior Maddie Parker, who both scored four goals. Senior Kit Philleo kept the Patriots out of the circle for the most part, except for goals from Madeline Romm, Stephanie Weissenburger, Ellie Kobylski (three goals) and Cara Traub (two goals). The Patriots never let up on their drives to the goal but struggled to stymie the consistent passes up the field and around the circle that kept the Vikings offense in control.
Whitman met in the locker room an hour-and-a-half before the game, Hosker said, to talk about what it wanted to accomplish and listen to inspirational speeches. With talented in-county matchups like Whitman-Wootton, it’s was always going to come down to who wants it more on that given day, Hosker said.
“We knew we needed to dig deep, because sometimes we don’t play as well as we could,” Hosker said. “This was a game where we needed to leave everything on the field, because the season could end today.” . . .
Elsewhere, Marriotts Ridge edged River Hill to win the 3A/2A South region and advance to this weekend’s state semifinals. Damascus fell to host Oakdale in the 3A/2A West final, 11-3, and Calvert lost to Stephen Decatur in the 3A/2A East final, 18-5.
In the 2A/1A South region final, Fallston doubled up Southern, 14-7. . . .
On the boys’ side, Wootton held off Churchill, 14-12, to claim the 4A/3A West title. The Patriots will face 4A/3A East region winner South River — a 16-0 winner over Leonardtown — in this weekend’s state semifinals at Northeast. Unbeaten Howard cruised past Sherwood, 20-5, in the 4A/3A North final, earning a semifinal matchup with Dulaney, which dispatched Old Mill, 15-6, in the 4A/3A South final.
Glenelg beat River Hill, 14-5, in the 3A/2A South final and will face Hereford in the state semifinals at Annapolis. Urbana earned a second straight overtime win, this time a 13-12 victory over Damascus, to win the 3A/2A West title.
In the 2A/1A South final, Southern fell to Fallston, 10-6.