It looked like the weather would hold off as the top-ranked George Washington girls lacrosse team set to take on Morgantown Saturday in the state tournament semifinals at Andrew Jordon Field at Trace Fork.
But as the rainclouds opened up, so did the holes in the Mohigan defense, and George Washington’s Sarah Wilson scored six first-half goals in a torrential downpour to help lead the Patriots to a 14-11 victory over the defending state champions and punch their ticket to next week’s title game.
“We were all really together today,” said Wilson. “We cleaned up our passes, cleaned up our shots. We just had a good game.”
The Patriots struck first, scoring a goal 128 seconds into the contest on a shot by Sarah White. The Mohigans responded, with Emma Hicks scoring back-to-back goals to give the Mohigans a 2-1 advantage. Wilson scored her first goal with 17:47 left in the half on a free shot after Morgantown’s Emily Lowe received a two-minute penalty for a stick to the helmet.
Madison Owens found the back of the net to give the lead back to the Mohigans, 3-2, when Wilson scored on another free shot and off an assist from White to give the Patriots a 4-3 edge. Hicks scored a short-handed goal with 10:33 remaining in the half to stop the bleeding, but consecutive goals from Wilson gave the Patriots a two-point cushion. Hicks and Wilson traded goals to keep the Patriots lead at two before the game was suspended due to lightning in the area with 2:36 remaining.
“We worked a lot on the mistakes we made last week. We were dropping the ball a lot. We focused on our passing and we spread out our offense,” said George Washington coach Greg Mallory. “Sarah Wilson had just an out-of-this-world game tonight, which she’s capable of doing.”
After a 30-minute delay, Hicks scored with two seconds remaining in the half, cutting George Washington’s lead to one before halftime. George Washington out-shot the Mohigans 10-6 in the first half and shot three penalty shots to Morgantown’s one.
“The officiating ... the tone gets set with certain misinterpretations, then it goes on to the sidelines,” said Morgantown coach Suzzie Bane. “The officials need to interpret who has position, and whether the offense is going to plow through them.”
In the second half, Owens tied the game with 23:39 left. Both teams scored two goals over the next six minutes of action, tying the game at nine with 17 minutes remaining. Wilson scored on a penalty shot and assisted on a goal by Cheyenne Banks to give the Patriots’ another two-point advantage.
“We felt we had to control the center, control the draw out here today,” said Mallory. “Luckily we just had a couple of breaks here and there that we jumped on and got ahead, and were able to stay ahead. They have a heck of a team.”
Morgantown’s Lauren Guthrie ended the Patriots’ mini-run, scoring with 12 minutes left in the game to cut the deficit to one. Back-to-back goals by White and Sarah Bodnar gave the Patriots a 13-10 lead, their largest of the game.
Owens scored her third goal of the game, bringing the Mohigans within two with just over six minutes remaining, but Morgantown wouldn’t get any closer as the Patriots’ Caroline Evans scored four minutes later to push the lead back to three and seal the win.
“We are known for defense, but when you can’t get a charge, that takes away from our game plan,” said Bane. “But GW’s a good team. I hope they beat University.”
Wilson finished with eight goals on the night, and goalie Rachel Cokeley recorded five saves for the Patriots. Hicks, who will attend Indiana (Pa.) University on a full scholarship, accounted for six goals to lead the Mohigans.
The Patriots will take on No. 2 University Saturday in the championship game at 11 a.m. Trace Fork.
“This is the first GW [girls lacrosse] team to ever make it to the state finals and they have been going to camps and working their tails off,” said an emotional Mallory.
“They played as a team tonight and I’m just so proud of them.”