There were pictures, hugs and even a few tears after Good Counsel topped Holy Cross, 22-3, Monday to win its eighth straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference girls’ lacrosse championship.
The Falcons’ 10 seniors lingered on the sideline of the University of Maryland’s Ludwig Field, celebrating a 19-2 season and lamenting its end.
But for two of their leaders, Brigid Smith and Caileigh Sindall, there are more games left together. Big games. Smith and Sindall are part of the U.S. under-19 national team that will compete in the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship this August in Germany.
“It’s going to be a totally different experience for the both of us,” Sindall said. “It’s going to be something we’ll always cherish and it’s always going to be a memory for us.”
Added Smith, “It’s really special that we get to share it together.”
The Falcons were the only team in Maryland to place two players on the U-19 squad and, according to Coach Michael Haight, Sindall and Smith are the first players from Montgomery County to make the team.
After their successful tryout last summer, the pair returned to Good Counsel brimming with confidence and ready to lead one of the nation’s top-ranked high school teams.
“We did have that extra little amount of pressure, but it’s something you thrive off,” Smith said. “It just makes you a better player.”
Sindall, Smith and the rest of the Falcons seniors finished with a year to remember. They extended their WCAC winning streak to 80 games, outscored opponents, 371-150, and only lost to Mendham of New Jersey and St. Anthony’s of New York.
Kelly Lechner, bound for Penn State, led the team with 88 goals. Morgan Stephens (Virginia) had 37 goals and 37 assists. At 5 feet 11, Smith used her rare mix of reach and slick stick-handling to hand out to team-high 64 assists. Sindall’s dogged pursuit of turnovers led a defensive unit that also included Caroline Scanlon (Stanford) and Jennifer Seitz (George Washington).
“This senior class — it’s the end of an era,” Haight said. “I’ve known these kids since fourth, fifth grade and for me it’s just a sad day.”
Holy Cross finished 15-8 on the season led by junior Monica Lucas (56 goals). With only three seniors, the future looks bright for the Tartans.
“They’re three of the best we’ve had so they’re going to be a big loss,” Lucas said. “But we’re excited to have most of the team back [next year].”
That’s next year. Monday was all Falcons.
Stephens found Lechner in front of the net for a goal in the first 30 seconds and Smith scored on her first two shots. Good Counsel led 13-2 at halftime despite five saves from Holy Cross goalie Mary Bruton.
Lechner finished with seven goals and Stephens had six assists. Smith finished with six goals and two assists, while Sindall and the defense shut out the Tartans for a 34-minute stretch.
It was business as usual for a duo that spent most of the season dominating one half of the field each. They will continue that partnership for Team USA this summer, but after that things promise to get much less friendly on the field — Smith has signed with Duke and Sindall with North Carolina.
“I’ll probably laugh,” Sindall said of the first time she faces Smith.
“Yeah, that will be my instinct too,” Smith said.