Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse falls to Shaler in WPIAL title game
Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse coach Julie Gould said it was hard to describe the feelings after her team's 15-14 loss to Shaler in the WPIAL Division II title game.
The Colts battled back from a seven-goal deficit to take the lead only to watch the Titans storm back for the win. One thing was for sure though – she couldn't be prouder of her squad.
“My girls showed so much character to come back from that deficit,” Gould said. “They linked arms and marched forward. I wish we could change the results for them. And it's not that Shaler didn't deserve it. I just wish my team's hard work would be paid off.”
Things got off to a good start for the Colts as freshman Maria Stamerra scored 41 second into the game. But Shaler built a 7-1 lead over the next 10 minutes – thanks in part to a pair of goals from Shannon Lynch and Kristel Chatelelier.
Alivia Cangelier scored Chartiers Valley's second goal of the night at the 11:49 mark and it started an offensive surge for the Colts as they outscored the Titans, 7-4, over the final 14 minutes of the first half.
The Colts went on a rampage over the final 30 seconds of the half as Kelsey Quinn, Hope Tornabene and Stamerra each scored to pull within four goals of Shaler.
The Colts carried the momentum into the second half as Stamerra scored three goals in the opening eight minutes.
“She far exceeded what I expected of her this season a long time ago,” Gould said. “What made her performance was how she controlled midfield. She won 90 to 95 percent of draws. She was using her height. As a freshman to be playing her butt off in the WPIAL finals was just icing on the cake for her season.”
Tornabene tied the game at 12-12 when she was able to knock the ball out of Shaler goalie Saige Greygor's stick as she stepped out from front of the net to pass the ball down field. The junior attack took a free shot on the net to score. Stamerra scored her eighth goal of the night and freshman Margot Mason added a score to give the Colts a 14-12 lead with 12:41 remaining.
“It felt like a couple key players started making key plays,” Gould said of the team's comeback. “That started to permeate throughout the team and got Shaler on its heals. We just went for the jugular.”
But the game's second lightning delay that lasted more than 40 minutes allowed the Titans to regroup. Lynch scored her sixth goal of the night and Chatellier added a pair and Shaler was able to run the clock down for the school's first WPIAL lacrosse title.
Stamerra led Chartiers Valley with eight goals. Tornabene added two.
The Colts weren't helped by the two lightning delays during the game. The first one occurred six minutes into the first half and the second occurred with 7:55 left in the game. Both lasted for more than 40 minutes.
“It is the first time in all the years I have been coaching that I experienced something like that,” Gould said. “It was very difficult for both teams, not only from the emotional stress but also the physical stress.”
It was a heartbreaking end for the Colts that is becoming all too familiar. Chartiers Valley fell in the WPIAL title game the previous two seasons – 15-5 in 2011 and 11-10 in 2012, both to North Hills. But Gould doesn't want this ending to tarnish what this team has done.
“I told them after the game how proud of them I am,” the third-year coach said. “We had a turbulent season on and off the field. But we persevered. We took it to the last minute, to the last goal of the last game. You couldn't go any further. I wish I could of given them the title because they deserve it.”
While the sting of this season may last awhile, the Colts are primed to make a run at their fourth straight title game next season. The team returns a junior class of 13 players that formed the core of the 2013 squad, including attacks Tornabene and Paige Onomastico and goalie Hayley Stamerra.
The team also returns a group of freshmen who made a huge impac. Maria Stamerra, ShyAnne Toomer, Mason and Cangelier will all come back a year wiser and a year better.
“All you can say is look out,” Gould said.
But Gould made sure to give praise to this season's seniors. The seven seniors on the roster were sophomores when Gould took over the program and she could not thank them enough for how they helped her transition.
“My memories of them will be very positive,” Gould said. “Coming in as a new coach you need to tread lightly. They were a very mature group.
“They are a good group of girls who will do great things in life.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.