Bishop Ireton Coach Rick Sofield screamed throughout the second half of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference girls’ lacrosse championship against Good Counsel on Monday.
But at times, the coach wondered whether his star sophomore, Reilly Casey, could hear his direction.
After Casey, a North Carolina commit, scored on an over-the-shoulder shot early in the period, Sofield glanced toward his bench: “That’s not what I called.” After Casey netted a similar shot from the left side of the crease later on, Sofield winced: “I wanted more time off the clock.”
But after Casey’s dynamic offense — five goals and two assists — helped carry No. 3 Bishop Ireton to a 16-11 win at Ludwig Field in College Park, Sofield’s displeasure didn’t linger.
“We definitely have that dynamic where she likes to test boundaries sometimes,” Sofield said. “The kid’s a dynamic player, and when the chips are on the line, great players make great plays.”
Casey’s production wasn’t new to Good Counsel, as the Falcons fell to the Cardinals in the WCAC championship game for the third year in a row. Bishop Ireton downed Good Counsel by one goal in March when Casey netted the game-winner with about a minute left after the Falcons had come back to tie the score twice late in the second half.
Nonetheless, Casey frustrated Good Counsel (14-7, 9-2 WCAC) throughout Monday’s game, tallying one goal and two assists in the first half before pouring in four goals, all with the same trick-shot style, after halftime.
After the final horn sounded and the Cardinals (18-3, 11-0) received another league trophy — the two teams have combined to win all but one league tournament title since 2004 — Casey grabbed the hardware and danced with it toward Sofield. After the coach was doused with the water cooler, he hugged Casey, who has grown to be “like a niece” to him, as his daughter, Charlotte, was Casey’s childhood babysitter.
“He’s a close family friend,” Casey said. “So we butt heads a little bit, but it’s all real love.”
Sofield was also quick to highlight another sophomore after the game.
Midfielder Aubrey Williams, who had missed a few games recently with a hamstring injury, controlled the draw circle and helped the Cardinals to a 21-7 advantage on faceoffs.
Williams’s presence was perhaps most notable, Sofield said, when Good Counsel made its late comeback attempt. Down by seven after Casey scored her second goal of the second half, the Falcons managed a 6-1 run in about nine minutes to cut their deficit to two.
“I just kind of focused and thought about the games we had done so well on draws,” Williams said. “I knew that we could do it.”
Williams regained her rhythm in the draw circle, and Casey scored twice more, setting the Cardinals up to cash in on a pre-playoff deal with Sofield.
A few days ago in practice, the players received some motivation: If they won the WCAC tournament, Sofield would dye his hair red. And if they repeat as Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association champions next week, they could shave his head.