BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s girls’ varsity lacrosse team’s
dream of returning to the state championship ended last week with a 13-9 loss
to North Harford and its star player in the Class 3A-2A semifinals.
Decatur ran the table in the regular season, going a
perfect 14-0, and collected its second straight Bayside Conference
championship. The Seahawks then got off to a great start in the state
tournament, beating Kent Island, 12-6, in the 3A-2A East Region championship
game to advance to the Final Four for the second year in a row.
However, the magical run ended last Friday with a 13-9
loss to North Harford and its star player, Corey Donahoe, who had scored 72
goals and collected 41 assists this season. Decatur knew it would have to shut
down the University of North Carolina-bound player to have a chance to advance
to the state title game for the second year in a row.
Despite a concerted effort to shut down Donohoe using a
variety of defensive players in a variety of defensive schemes, the North
Harford star still got her due, scoring six goals to lead her team to victory
over the Seahawks. Donohoe scored three of her goals in the first half to stake
North Harford to a 6-2 halftime lead, but the Seahawks continued to battle and
made a few runs in the second half to stay in the game.
Decatur scored first to take an early 1-0 and tied the
game at 2-2 with 14:27 left in the first half after a pair of North Harford
goals, but that was the last time the Seahawks would find the back of the net
for over 18 minutes, but despite the drought, Decatur was still very much in
Sara Braniecki broke the ice with a goal at the 21-minute
mark in the second half and Ali Lathroum scored just over a minute later to cut
the North Harford lead to 8-4 with a lot of time left in the contest. Decatur
hung with the Hawks for much of the rest of game, matching them goal for goal,
but could never get any closer than four goals. In the end, North Harford held
on for the 13-9 win to advance to the state championship game.
Lathroum led the Seahawks with five goals, including four
in the second half, while Braniecki, Katie Priestly and Kara Gover each scored
one goal. Decatur sophomore goalie Taylor Phillips was outstanding in the nets,
despite the loss, collecting six saves.
The loss ended a special season for the Seahawks and the
current group of players, who reached the state title game last year before
falling to state and national powerhouse Mount Hebron. Many of the core group
of players are moving on to the next level next year with several players
committed to Division I schools, but with a solid group of underclassmen ready
to step into the void, the future of the girls’ lacrosse program at Decatur
remains very bright.