After blowing big lead, Shaler girls rally to win lacrosse title
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After giving up nine consecutive goals to blow a seven-goal lead in the WPIAL Division II girls lacrosse championship, Shaler was on the verge of an epic collapse.
Coach Jen Perestock yelled. Star sophomore Shannon Lynch said Titans players were on the verge of turning on each other.
“We thought it was lost,” Lynch said.
Trailing by two with less than 13 minutes to play, Shaler needed a jolt.
It got one. Literally.
A 30-minute lightning delay with 12:41 left ignited a three-goal rally as Shaler came back to beat Chartiers Valley, 15-14, Thursday night at North Hills for its first WPIAL lacrosse title.
“I was actually glad we got the lightning break because we needed to spark things up with them,” Perestock said. “They just needed that pump up to get back into the game and to stay working together as a team and figure out a way to fix what was going on.”
Soon after the second weather delay, Lynch scored Shaler's first goal of the second half.
Lynch's sixth and final goal of the game stopped a 9-0 Chartiers Valley run that included five goals by Maria Stamerra.
Kristel Chatellier had the tying and winning goals in the final minutes, her third and fourth tallies of the game.
Stamerra, a freshman, had eight total goals for the No. 2 Colts (17-3).
“We were all getting down on each other, and coach was getting mad,” Lynch said. “She kept pushing us, kept us going. She kept telling us, ‘Do you want to lose the championship to one player?' because (Stamerra) was making all the comeback.
“We all just looked at each other in the team room and kept trying to push our heads up.”
Chartiers Valley lost in the WPIAL championship game for the third consecutive season.
“It's like a knife right through the heart,” Colts coach Julie Gould said. “It's hard being here three times and not get any golden ticket.”
Chartiers Valley trailed, 5-1, when the first weather break struck. Shaler would take a 12-5 lead before the Colts woke up.
Hope Tornabene tied the game at 12 before Stamerra gave them the lead midway through the second half, and Margot Mason made it 14-12.
Then, the lightning came. And Shaler struck.
“It's so ridiculous. The feeling inside is just ridiculous,” an elated Lynch said. “When we were in the locker room the first time up, 5-1, we thought we had it. We went in with too much confidence, and they came back.
“The second time we went into the locker room, everybody had their heads down. But we came out and we made a miracle.”
For the fifth time in the past seven years, the WPIAL Division I girls lacrosse champion is Peters Township.
Hannah Wilcox had four goals and Sarah Bootman and Allison Hurley three goals each as No. 2 seed Peters Township defended last season's title with a 16-14 win against No. 1 Shady Side Academy late Thursday night at North Hills.
Peters Township (17-2) trailed, 3-2, early on but took control of the game — and a lead it would never relinquish — with a 5-0 run midway through the first half.
“It was great to beat Shady Side, especially because we lost to them in the regular season,” senior midfielder Caitlin Carey said. “ They're an athletic team so it means a lot.
Both teams are so athletic and it was two really good teams, so hustle was the difference. It was whoever wanted it more — it was the heart, it was the hustle.”
Felicia Tissenbaum had six goals for Shady Side Academy (15-2), which pulled to within one with a 7-1 run that spanned halftime but could not draw even. Neither team scored over the final 11:53 of the game.
Both teams advance to the PIAA tournament that begins Wednesday.
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
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