Addison Scanlon always believed this would be the year her St. John’s Catholic Prep lacrosse team won its first IAAM B Conference girls lacrosse championship.
The top-seeded Vikings swept their conference opponents during the regular season and only had to get past Park in Saturday night’s title game at USA Lacrosse’s Tierney Field in Sparks — a feat the Bruins made awfully difficult.
In a game tied five times, Scanlon, a junior midfielder, put the finishing touch on the crown two minutes into overtime, bouncing a free-position shot past Park goalie Mack Haughey’s left foot to give the Vikings an 11-10 victory.
“It was definitely a stressful position to be in,” said Scanlon, who scored four goals, “but I had my team and a great group of students behind me. I knew it was our season to win, so it was just getting it done. She’s a phenomenal goalie. Park always has a great goalie. I just knew I had to go fast because I was being caved in left and right. I just knew I had to go fast and low.”
The Vikings (15-3), who avenged last year’s loss to Park in the tournament semifinals, finished the season on a 15-game winning streak, including three wins over the second-seeded Bruins (9-6). They posted their first winning record since 2012 and won a third title to go with their 2009 and 2010 C Conference championships.
Their only senior, goalie Juliana Workman, who had four saves and forced the Bruins to hit the pipe three times, said this Vikings team has been especially close.
“I told everyone on the bus that this is my first and last time in a championship,” she said, “so the fact that is the highest degree of victory we could have gotten, it’s just the fulfillment of what everyone wants in their athletic career. I couldn’t ask for anything better. Knowing that my team carried me through, that is an incredible feeling.”
Although the Vikings jumped out to a 4-1 lead, Park didn’t take long to bounce back.
The Bruins scored four goals in less than four minutes — two from Cassandra Kitchen and one each from Ridgely Smith and Elizabeth Rosenbaum — to pull ahead 6-5 with 10:43 left in the first half. The Vikings didn’t lead again until Scanlon scored the game winner.
Park took its final lead, 10-9, with 1:14 to go when Kitchen hit a tough-angle shot from the right side into a high corner.
St. John’s won the next draw and, after coach Brett Ponchione called a timeout, Kaylee Storm slipped in a low skimmer to tie the game with 28.6 seconds left.
The Vikings appeared to take the lead with 11.2 seconds left when Storm whipped a shot into the cage from near the 12-meter arc, but the official waved off the goal and assessed Storm a yellow card for a dangerous shot, because a Park player was cutting between her and the goal.
That forced the Vikings to play man down for the first 1:49 of overtime. Just like the rest of the game, overtime went back and forth. Scanlon won the draw and the Vikings tried to attack despite being man down, but they turned the ball over. Park gave it right back.
The Vikings worked the ball around looking for a shot before Scanlon was fouled and given the deciding free-position shot.
In addition to losing Storm’s goal, the Vikings also had to overcome four yellow cards and two goals lost to crease violations not to mention Park’s efforts to pull the upset.
“Regardless of the score, regardless of the situation and the calls — nobody wants the calls to go against you but — they stuck together,” Ponchione said, " and there was so much confidence in the huddles and during the timeouts that I really felt like somehow, some way at the end of the day, we’re going to prevail. Kudos to the girls for hanging in there and hats off to Park. They played a great game. It’s hard to be a team three times in a year and we went into this knowing that they were going to be all we could handle.”
Maya Graham scored a goal and had two assists for the Vikings while Kristina Hindle and Payson Walker scored two goals each.
For the Bruins, who won the last of their six B Conference titles in 2021, Kitchen and Keenan Clark led the way. Despite being face-guarded early on, Kitchen scored three goals and had two assists. Clark also scored three goals and Smith had two. Freshman goalie Haughey had seven saves.
“Just a couple weeks ago, this team shellacked us,” said Bruins coach Robin Lowe, “so we were able to come back. We got down early and we fought back and had control of the game. We had our chances but that is a heck of a team. They’re really talented. They just keep coming at you. They’ve got multiple, multiple weapons and I thought our team was able to control them a whole lot better than we did a couple weeks ago. I was really proud of them.”
IAAM B CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
at Tierney Field, USA Lacrosse
ST. JOHN’S CATHOLIC PREP 11, PARK 10 OT
Park 8 2 0 — 10
St. John’s 6 4 1 — 11
GOALS: P—Cassandra Kitchen 3, Keenan Clark 3, Ridgely Smith 2, Abby Kaplan, Elizabeth Rosenbaum; SJ—Addison Scanlon 4, Kristina Hindle 2, Payson Walker 2, Emilia Tippett, Maya Graham, Kaylee Storm.
ASSISTS: P—Cassandra Kitchen 2, Meredith White; SJ—Maya Graham 2, Rylan Piccolo 2.
SAVES: P—Mack Haughey 7; SJ—Juliana Workman 4.