by Jeffrey Wojtala – Special to the News-Press
Those at the Dulles Conference finals on Monday evening witnessed history as the George Mason girls varsity lacrosse team became the Dulles Conference champions, beating number one conference ranked and current 4A State lacrosse champs Woodgrove High School Wolverines 12-11.
It appeared head coach Courtney Gibbons and assistant coaches Bree Galloway and Jessamyn Modrak had the girls prepared for the contest as they won the first draw of the game and proceeded down the field.
As in previous games, both teams started slow, methodically, getting the feel of the other team’s defense and their strengths and weaknesses. Mason’s Amy Roche opened the scoring for both teams five minutes into the contest but Woodgrove quickly responded 35 seconds later with a goal of their own to tie it at one.
Sarah Lubnow assisted by Lizzie Dodge followed four minutes later to put Mason on top but Woodgrove responded three times in five minutes to take the lead 4-2. This was to be Mason’s night and they would not give up so easily, and on the ensuing draw Mason gained possession and brought the ball back into the offensive zone.
Slow measured play followed and Roche once again found the back of the net, this time assisted by Sarah Lubnow. Lubnow followed a minute later with her own goal assisted by Claire Hiscott to draw the score to 4-4.
Seventy seconds later Claire scored her first goal of the night, Sarah followed 22 seconds later, and Claire scored her second goal two minutes later to make it a 7-4 Mason lead with time running down in the half.
The spectators witnessed goaltender Annette Schlitt carrying on from the previous Woodgrove game and saving every ball thrown at her. Mason’s defensive squad consisting of Anna Dubro, Claire Trundle, Lydia Gorman, Alex Biggs, Meredith Johnson, Maeve Donnelly, Caroline Duffett and Rae Mondragon slowed the attack of Woodgrove to maintain the Mason lead. The Wolverines scored again at the 1:41 minute mark to pull ahead to 7-5 at halftime.
The opening draw of the second half found Mason with the ball and 35 seconds later Hannah Hiscott scored her first of the night assisted by Johnson to increase Mason’s lead. Not to be silenced, Hannah scored again 39 seconds later and Sarah put another behind the Wolverines goalie 2.5 minutes later to make it a 10-5 game.
Suddenly the Woodgrove cowbells and tom-toms were lacking, a state the Wolverine fans were not accustomed to, but the State Champs, who recorded an undefeated season in conference, were not going to roll over in defeat so easily. The Wolverines scored twice more to cut the Mason lead to three.
Dodge scored at the 13:53 mark of the second half, assisted by Claire Hiscott to increase Mason’s lead back to four, but Woodgrove responded 30 seconds later to bring the Mason lead back to three.
Hannah scored again with 12:41 left in the game, assisted by Sarah to make it a Mason 12-8 game, but on the ensuing draw Roche accidentally brushed Lubnow in the face with her stick during a scrum and was assessed a yellow card, 2-minute non-releasable penalty, for dangerous stick follow through.
During the penalty “man down” time Woodgrove got three past Annette to close the score at 12-11. Now the game was to become interesting with ten minutes left. Numerous times the Wolverines came down field only to be thwarted by Annette and the Mason defense. This time though, Mason, in turn, would carry the ball to the Woodgrove side of the field, but slowly work the ball around the perimeter, maintaining possession, and also eating time of the game clock.
This process continued until the final nine seconds of the game when Mason was called for a foul and relinquished the ball to Woodgrove, but with limited time left, Woodgrove could not get the ball down the field and at the final horn the Mason girls converged at the 20-yard line to celebrate their win.
With the win the Lady Mustangs continue their drive to a state championship with a home game Tuesday, May 31 against John Champe High School.