Huddled around a cellphone in the sun at Lake Braddock High School, the Woodgrove girls’ lacrosse team left a screechy voicemail.
Wolverines Coach Bob Fuller, traveling this week on a trip planned years before, probably couldn’t make out much among the laughter and yelling, but the message was still clear: after a 15-1 win over rival Loudoun Valley, his team was the Virginia 5A girls’ lacrosse state champion.
“We adore him,” Kira Dabrowski said. “When he left, everyone was saying ‘do it for Bob!’ ”
But Fuller didn’t want that. He e-mailed his team, telling them to play for one another instead in an effort to rally his team from afar.
Whether for each other, for Fuller, or for the chance to see their coach’s ears pierced — the extra incentive that he promised if the Wolverines (18-4) earned the first lacrosse state title in the school’s four-year history — Woodgrove played brilliantly.
The Battle of Purcellville was all but decided on its opening shot, a faceoff win, go-to-goal scored from Nora Bowen 12 seconds in. From then on, the Wolverines’ offense cycled patiently to create goal after goal, building a 6-0 halftime lead over the Vikings (16-5). Bowen finished with four goals, as did senior Ashley Wacker and junior Emma Leszczak. Sophomore Courtney Olivier chipped in four in the midst of a second-half onslaught that forced a running clock, an unexpected development given that the teams’ three matchups earlier this season were all decided by three goals or fewer.
The Wolverines’ defense got the better of the familiar physicality on Sunday. Behind it, goalie Ashley Morris was nearly perfect, the only goal on her record the product of a soft bounce and unexpected hop.
“She proved she’s the goalie of the year,” Woodgrove senior Kaitlyn Lorinchak said. “She was awesome.”
When Fuller called back, some players broke into tears, while others tossed out earring style suggestions. They looked back on a season in which Fuller never let them take a day off, not in feet of snow or drenching rain.
“We didn’t have one practice canceled,” Bowen said as her teammates shook their heads with a smile. “Not a single day off.”
Fuller coached the first Woodgrove team in 2011 and built the Wolverines into a perennial Loudoun County power, getting them ready to seize the opportunity for a state title afforded by the new Virginia classification system this year. His Wolverines had T-shirts showing four lacrosse players, mimicking the Darwinian progression seen in the books, with the fourth standing tall with a lacrosse stick held high.
“He promised us all that work would pay off,” Dabrowski said. “It did.”