Year in Review: Westminster girls lacrosse wins first state championship with win over Mount Hebron

Year in Review: Westminster girls lacrosse wins first state championship with win over Mount Hebron
Westminster celebrates their championship win over Mt Hebron High School during the MPSSAA State Lacrosse Tournament at Stevenson University May 24, 2018. (Ken Koons / Carroll County Times)

Westminster had a purpose this season.

That purpose led the Owls to their first state championship in program history with a 9-5 victory over Mount Hebron in the Class 3A title game May 24, 2018 at Stevenson University.


The Owls (17-2) used their depth and a strong transition to keep the Vikings at bay. Junior midfielder Anna Ruby scored a team-high three goals and Chloe Sedlar added two, including the opening goal of the game for the 3A West champions.

“More so than any other year we’ve focused so much on mentality as far as a team,” Ruby said. “I feel like even from the second we got off that bus today, our only job was to win a state title and so from that start I think we had the confidence in ourselves that we were going to be able to execute that.”

The teams were tied 2-2 through the first four minutes of play until junior midfielder Hannah Dintino sent a shot high into the net to spark a four-goal scoring run for the Owls. Ruby took a shot that bounced off Hebron goalie Georgia Ryan’s stick, but Ruby picked up the loose ball and fired a shot back in to put the Owls up 5-2.

Mount Hebron called a time out after Ruby’s goal.

“I just think they were driving hard to the cage and I think that we were hesitant on setting our slides defensively at first,” Vikings coach Lindsay Menton said. “At the time out, we made the adjustment to really make sure we weren’t sitting back and making sure we were reading to support one another on the defensive end. They were driving hard and they were shooting hard and finding the back of the net early, and often.”

Vikings midfielder Erin Demek fired a free-position shot past Owls goalie Sara Tyssowski, ending an 18-minute scoring drought for the Vikings (13-6). Westminster scored two more to close out the half with an 8-3 lead.

About five minutes into the second half, Ruby, the Owls’ leading scorer, went down with an apparent ankle injury and was sidelined for the remainder of the game. Her loss didn’t deter the Owls, however.

Haleigh Moore got checked in the ear by a Vikings player that gave the Owls a man-up advantage with a little over three minutes to play. That moment, Moore said, gave her confidence that the Owls were going to win.

“I just really had to slow myself down because when we were getting the ball, they were coming out and pressuring,” said Tyssowski, who made 13 saves. "I had to stop myself and just calm down because our girls were there and our defense is obviously amazing so I definitely had some good backup.”

Westminster has made four previous appearances in the state final — 2004, 2009, 2011, and 2012 — but came away without a crown each time. Coach Jackie Stevens led the Owls to two of those appearances in 2011 and 2012.

The Owls outscored their playoff opponents 57-22 prior to facing the Vikings on Thursday. They defeated Bel Air, last year’s 4A-3A state champion, in a thrilling 10-9 overtime victory in the state semifinals to make it back.

“It’s just such an awesome feeling,” Stevens said. ‘We just couldn’t be more proud of this program, all these girls. It’s just amazing to be part of something that we haven’t ever had in school history. It’s such a good feeling to do it for each other, for the coaches, for the community, alumni everything and being a part of Westminster.”

Four Owls earned Times first-team all-county first team — junior defender Haleigh Moore, junior midfielders Hannah Dintino and Anna Ruby, and senior attacker Madi Macera.