While most North Stafford fans elected to sit in the Colonial Forge home stands, three hearty souls took possession of the visitors’ stands, choosing the nose-bleed seats. With the Wolverines clinging to a one-goal lead, the trio probably prayed and kept their fingers’ crossed that their girls lacrosse team could kill the final 2:47 left before game’s end.
The Eagles were determined to keep their winning “legacy” alive, though, forcing a turnover with less than a half minute remaining.
Kadence Statton’s fourth goal off an assist from Emmy Ponce tied the game with 21 seconds left, then freshman Maggie Hatton denied the visitors a chance at overtime, netting her third goal off a free-possession opportunity with eight-tenths of a second left, leaving the Eagles victorious by an 11–10 margin Friday night.
North Stafford was thus denied the chance to become the first team to hand Colonial Forge a district or conference loss since Massapanox managed the feat during the 2016 season.
“I just wanted to do it for my team: everyone was working so hard,” Hatton said. “I was looking her [opposing goalie Tatiana Martinez] in the eye and I know I shouldn’t have been. She was good saving the high shots and everyone was yelling ‘go low,’ so I guess I’m going low.”
Colonial Forge (12–2, 12–0) won its eighth game in a row and draws a first-round bye in Monday’s opening round of the Commonwealth District tournament, while North Stafford (10–4, 8–4) will join Riverbend and Mountain View with home games that day. The final two rounds will be played Tuesday and Thursday at Stafford High School with the Eagles scheduled to play in the first semifinal contest at 5 p.m.
Victoria Ubeiles scored her first of three goals on a breakaway with 18:53 left to give the Wolverines an early lead. North Stafford enjoyed a 17–8 shot advantage in forging an 8–3 halftime advantage.
Rebecca Murray’s fourth goal of the contest put the Wolverines ahead at 9–5, but the Eagles continued to surge in the second half where they enjoyed a 17–3 shot edge.
“In the first half, they [the Wolverines] got into our heads,” said Stanton, who missed the final Eagle outburst after receiving a slash to her chin. “We had to switch the switch and we did. Our transitions were beautiful and we made careful catches and passes.”
After beating North Stafford 8–6 on Wednesday, coach Nate Medic realized it would take a supreme effort in the second half to come out with a win.
“We [the coaches] talked about the second half being the most unselfish 25 minutes we played the entire season: taking the extra check, taking that foul for your teammates so we can get those free positions and set up good shots. They embraced that message.”
Emmy Ponce aided the effort with two goals and an assist, while Eagle freshman Mary Ellen Schuster had a goal and two assists.
Despite her team’s late collapse, Martinez had a stellar game in goal, totaling 10 saves. Annika Benson had a multi-goal game for the Wolverines with two tallies.
“We were in a pretty good position. We just had to squeeze the ball and we didn’t on the last turnover,” coach Clinton Lloyd said. “The team has been motivated all year. They have performed beyond what I asked them to.”