Win or lose, Tuesday was going to be the final game of the season for both the St. Anthony’s and Sacred Heart girls lacrosse teams. The Friars worked all season through a grueling non-league schedule and two tough matchups against Sacred Heart in hopes of being at their best in the final.
St. Anthony’s did just that, putting an exclamation point on their season with a 17-5 victory over Sacred Heart in the CHSAA girls lacrosse ‘AA’ final at Adelphi to win its third straight championship.
“It was the most complete, wonderful game they’ve played all year,” coach Summer Koepplin said. “Everything about it was amazing.”
St. Anthony’s (15-2) defeated Sacred Heart (10-10) twice during the regular season, by a combined four goals. The Friars wanted to control the game from the very start.
“Every game against Sacred Heart this season was a really good one,” said Ava Biancardi, who had three goals. “We came out here ready to win, ready to play as a team and we showed it.”
St. Anthony’s scored the game’s first four goals in the opening 7:04 and took an 8-2 lead at halftime. The Friars outscored Sacred Heart 9-3 in the second half, including scoring eight of the game’s final 10 goals.
“As a senior, we knew we were going to give our hearts and give it all and that’s exactly what we did that tonight,” Biancardi said. “We knew we wanted to finish the season on a victory and that’s what we did.”
St. Anthony’s had contributions all over the field. Tess Calabria had five goals, Tanner Scarola had a goal and four assists and Meredith McPharlin had a goal and three assists. Abigail LoCascio had two goals and an assist, Megan Kenny and Rose Christie each scored two goals and Katherine McAteer scored.
“They just played as a complete and unselfish unit,” Koepplin said. “Almost every goal was assisted and it was just perfect. Our transition was gorgeous, our defense played lights out. It was a full team win.”
The Friars’ dominating defensive presence included Lexie Zenk’s 10 saves. Zenk, a sophomore, credited her team’s defense for rarely allowing Sacred Heart a clean shot on goal.
“This is the best I’ve ever seen us play,” Zenk said. “Everybody played their part. Everyone played their role and a goalie is only as good as their defense.”
Zenk and Calabria, the leading goal scorer Tuesday, are both sophomores, which bodes well for St. Anthony’s beyond this season.
“We have underclassmen that just crush pressure,” Koepplin said. “And that’s phenomenal for me to see as a coach.”
By Owen O'Brien