Finch’s OT goal propels No. 13 South Carroll girls to their first state 2A lax crown; Weiss makes clutch saves in fourth quarter to deny third-ranked Hereford’s unbeaten bid

by Nelson Coffin

While the South Carroll’s girls lacrosse team was the picture of resiliency — overcoming a 4-0 deficit in the first half and a two-goal shortfall in the second — in the Class 2A state championship on Tuesday night at Paint Branch High School, No. 3 Hereford (17-1), the team it defeated, 10-9, in overtime, displayed more than its share of that attribute as well.

After all, the Bulls, whose dream of producing an unbeaten season and claiming the program’s first state banner since 2003, had overcome what appeared to be a hopeless situation to send the game into overtime on Libby May’s steal-and-score with 23 seconds remaining in regulation while being shorthanded after receiving a fourth yellow card a couple of minutes earlier in the period.

South Carroll senior midfielders Riley Evans (left) and Shannon Finch flank junior goaltender Julia Weiss after the Cavaliers’ thrilling 10-9 triumph over No. 3 Hereford in the Class 2A girls lacrosse state championship game Tuesday night.

Yet the Cavaliers had one more push left, and it came with 12 seconds left in the first overtime period when Shannon Finch heeded her coach’s call to go to the goal.

She did, and the senior midfielder didn’t miss when she motored toward the goal, turned, and fired a liner into the net to give South Carroll first state championship in just its second trip to the final since 1993.

“I heard the coach say ‘take it to the goal’ and I saw the space,” Finch said.

“I knew she could do it,” said one of the Cavs’ other stars, junior goalie Julia Weiss. “I can’t believe it, though. It’s just so cool to win.”

Having beaten Glenelg, 9-8, in a semifinal, Hereford may have thought its road to the title would have been a little less stressful after two goals by May and one each by fellow senior midfielder Isabella Peterson and junior attacker Lindsay Clarke gave the Bulls an early cushion.

South Carroll had other ideas, roaring back on a pair of goals by senior midfielder Riley Evans and one each by junior defender Kennedy Evans and Finch to even the count at halftime.

“We had a lot of momentum coming off the Glenelg win, but we had a lot of mental errors,” Clarke said.

“We kept turning the ball over,” May lamented. “And we couldn’t finish.”

Hereford inched ahead three different times in the second half only to be equalized on each occasion while Weiss’ play between the pipes prevented the Bulls from building a fourth advantage.

“I don’t think we came in overconfident,” Hereford coach Anne Ensor said. “Their goalie played a phenomenal game and that just made such a huge difference.”

So did the fact that the Bulls received a fourth yellow card with just under three minutes remaining in regulation, mandating that they play the rest of the game shorthanded.

Riley Evan capitalized on the situation when she scored a minute later to give the Cavs a 9-8 lead.

While South carroll was attempting a clear in the final minute, May picked off a pass and raced toward the goal for the tying score with just 23 seconds to go.

Finch ended it near the end of the first OT, although both teams had opportunities to break through prior to her heroics.

“We knew we would be the underdog coming in, even though we kept beating really good teams (No. 16 Century, Winters Mill, Middletown and Queen Anne’s) to get here,” South Carroll coach Brigid Scanlon said. “It was just amazing to watch these girls play this season.”

(at Paint Branch High School)
Hereford 4 5 0— 9

S. Carroll 4 5 1— 10
Goals: H-ILibby May 4, Isabella Peterson 3, , Lindsay Clarke 2; SC-Riley Evans 4, Shannon Finch 2, Kennedy Evans, Jenna McDermott, Mia MacKenzie, Syd Hill.
Assists: H-Libby May, Lindsay Clarke; C-Kennedy Evans, Abbey Behn.
Saves: H-Lindsay Posner 3; Julia Weiss 8.