When Chapelgate plays St. Timothy’s in girls lacrosse one thing is a certainty. “We always have a close game with St. Tim’s,” said Chapelgate coach Colleen Norton.
Wednesday’s Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference semifinal was no exception.
Chapelgate led by five goals with 8:39 left in the game, but the Yellowjackets ended up winning by just one, 13-12.
The loss kept St. Timothy's from reaching the conference championship game for the fourth year in a row.
Last year, Chapelgate beat St. Timothy's, 15-13, in the title game, and that contest ended much the way Wednesday’s did, with Chapelgate attempting to stall and St. Timothy's defense frantically trying to force a turnover.
“It was déjà vu,” said St. Timothy’s coach Kara Carlin of the late-game tactics.
St. Timothy's did force a bad pass, which Frazier Beall intercepted. She dished off to Sydney Thomas who raced up the field to score St. Timothy's final goal with just a tick or two on the clock. It was Thomas’ sixth goal of the game, but her first of the second half.
Chapelgate will defend its C Conference title against conference newcomer Indian Creek at noon on Saturday at the Gerstell Academy.
Wednesday’s semifinal was fraught with frustrations. The officials showed up at St. Timothy's instead of Chapelgate and then got caught in rush hour traffic. As soon as they arrived at Chapelgate, they heard thunder so the teams had to seek shelter inside the school for 30 minutes.
The game got under way about 90 minutes after its scheduled start.
The delayed start meant that the teams, which were warmed up and ready, had to refocus.
Although it was not an ideal scenario, the wait affected both teams equally.
“And it was better than waiting until tomorrow and having to travel again,” Carlin said.
Chapelgate has had a reputation as a second-half team, but the Yellowjackets faced St. Timothy's with a revamped game plan.
“We knew we had to be a first-half team. We knew we had to be big from the start,” said Hailee Winand. The junior defender took one for her team, when she was hit in the back by a dangerous shot early in the game.
Once the contest was well under way, St. Timothy's offense suffered a blow when Sophie Cutts and a Chapelgate player collided. Cutts hit the back of her head on the ground and ended up sitting out nearly 20 minutes in the middle of the game.
“It definitely affected us not to have her,” Carlin said. “We have our strength at the center and to lose her affected us on the possession aspect of the game.”
Although the Yellowjackets didn’t always get a shot off, it was Chapelgate’s Christina VanWingerden who came up with many of the first-half draws.
Chapelgate trailed, 7-6, at the half, but scored the next six goals to take a 12-7 lead. Then the game started to get a little hairy.
The Yellowjackets were aware that St. Timothy's had come back from a five-goal deficit to defeat Indian Creek and they didn’t want to give the visitors an opportunity to do that again.