By John Knebels
Special to The CS&T
You know a winning streak is really amazing when no one knows for sure what the exact number is.
In the case of Archbishop Carroll High School girls’ lacrosse, the Patriots have now won 120 consecutive games against Catholic League competition spanning nine years. Or maybe it’s 121.
“I think it’s at 121, but I can’t say for sure,” said Carroll coach Lorraine Beers. “I read (in a local newspaper) that it was 120. I think they’re off by one.”
One thing that’s definitely accurate is the Catholic League championship streak.
Against a determined Archbishop Wood May 21 at Swarthmore College, Archbishop Carroll captured its ninth consecutive league title by doubling up the Vikings, 16-8. Thus, the Patriots’ last league loss continues to be in the 2000 final against St. Hubert’s.
Almost one decade later, the other Catholic League teams try in collective effort to dethrone the mighty Pats.
“We started out kind of slow,” said Beers. “It took us a while for some leaders to emerge. Sometimes that happens early. This year, it took some time.”
Carroll’s tepid start almost proved costly. Back on April 22, Wood and Carroll were tied 8-8 thanks to a two-goal flurry by the Vikings inside the final 78 seconds. However, Carroll standout sophomore Hannah Schmitt scored at the last second of regulation for a 9-8 Carroll win.
Therefore, the Patriots were well aware they couldn’t just show up and beat Wood in the title match.
“We take every game seriously, but knowing how close they came to beating us, we definitely knew we had to play a strong game to win the championship,” said senior Marlee Hagan, a co-captain along with senior Kait Harris. “After our slow start, we’ve been playing better.”
Unfortunately for Wood, the Patriots played extremely well when it counted most.
Again, it was Schmitt who provided Wood’s faithful with most of their disappointment. Despite a Wood defense that did its best to limit her chances, Schmitt tallied six goals. Not surprisingly, Schmitt was named the Catholic League most valuable player this year.
But it was more than just Schmitt who supplied overwhelming offense. Junior Aimee Gennaro scored five goals while Genni Hull and Harris contributed two apiece. Meg McKee scored the other. For Wood, Caitlin McCartney and Jenn White each scored a hat trick.
“We really thought this was going to be our year,” said White. “We had a great season, but it’s frustrating to have it end like this.”
Beers lauded the Carroll defense, particularly senior Carolyn Burns. At Wednesday night’s team banquet, the Old Dominion University-bound Burns was named the team’s most valuable player. According to Beers, Burns’ performance in the championship was typical of how she has played all year.
“She’s a consistent defender and very tenacious,” said Beers. “She causes turnovers, helps our transition on offense. She’s done a great job.”
After the Patriots celebrated winning yet another league title, Beers was asked a rather stupid question: Do the girls ever get bored with winning?
“You can see by their reaction that this never gets tiring,” said Beers. “They were jumping up and down and just going crazy. I’m so happy for them because they worked really hard. It would have been very disappointing if we hadn’t won. That’s one of the reasons why you work as hard as you do – to finish with a championship.”
Or in the case of Archbishop Carroll, championship, after championship, after championship …
John Knebels can be reached at email@example.com.