Generally, when a Virginia AA Dulles District team clinches a regular season league championship, the school rolls out a title banner for the postgame celebration on the field.
When the Woodgrove girls’ lacrosse team held off a late Freedom-South Riding rally to cap its unbeaten run through the Dulles District with a 13-10 victory Thursday night in Purcellville, their sticks and screams of joy had to suffice — the Wolverines don’t own a championship banner. . . yet.
A first-year varsity program at a first-year school, Woodgrove is making history each time its teams step onto the playing field. The Wolverines (9-6, 9-0), whose roster is devoid of seniors and includes only three players with varsity lacrosse experience, are made up largely of former Loudoun Valley students who came to Woodgrove when the school opened in the fall. Junior co-captains Ashlyn Dacey and Ellen Fuller account for most of the experience on the roster as both were members of back-to-back Virginia state semifinalist teams at Loudoun Valley, and both were key contributors Thursday in a battle of the district’s two unbeaten teams.
“It’s hard because we’re so young and we don’t have nearly as much experience as the teams we play,” Fuller said. “We were nervous coming into tonight since both teams were undefeated, but to win the title our first year is pretty incredible.”
After Freedom took an early 4-2 lead, sophomores Morgan Miller and Olivia Becker scored in quick succession to tie the score midway through the first half. Freedom senior Amber Kim — the Eagles’ leading scorer — tallied her fourth goal four minutes later to give the Eagles (12-2, 8-1) a brief 5-4 lead but from there, Woodgrove’s defense clamped down. For the next 20 minutes the Wolverines held Freedom scoreless, thanks in large part to a career night from sophomore goalie Bailey Carver (10 saves).
Dacey and Fuller combined to score the first four goals of the second half and by the time Kim scored with just more than 10 minutes remaining to break the drought, the Eagles had fallen into an 11-6 hole. Freedom scored three times in the final 1 minute 23 seconds — including two more from Kim who finished with six goals on the night — but the flurry came too late as the Eagles were denied in their quest for their first league title.
Dacey finished with a team-high four goals and Miller, Becker and junior Lisa Hemphill each scored twice as seven Wolverines got into the scorebook.
Woodgrove Athletic Director Rusty Lowery, who comes from a baseball background where superstitions run rampant, admitted he intentionally waited to procure a district title banner.
“I didn’t want to jinx it,” Lowery said. “But now I guess we’ve got a reason to get one.”