The Century girls lacrosse team had been in this position before, leading Glenelg late with a spot in the state quarterfinals on the line. The Knights calmly worked the ball around, maintaining possession in the game’s final 2:20, fending off double teams.
Jasmine Stanton and Lauren and Anna Hackett successfully evaded Glenelg’s defenders, running out the clock in the Knights’ nail-biting 8-7 victory over Glenelg for the Class 2A West Region I championship on Tuesday. Both top-seeded Century and second-seeded Glenelg entered the game unbeaten.
It’s the second straight year Century has defeated Glenelg in the regional championship game, winning 10-8 a season ago.
“I’m so proud of them because, obviously, last year we had one and it’s even harder to beat [Glenelg] the second time when they’re prepared for you,” Century coach Becky Groves said. “I knew it would be even more of a battle, which it was.”
After surrendering the opening goal, Century began to build separation scoring the next three. Jane Brewer opened the scoring for the Knights finishing off a free position opportunity, while Anna Hackett followed with two of her team-high four goals, also on free-position shots. The Knights’ defense sped up the Gladiators’ pace early, forcing them into several turnovers.
“Defensively, we’re a team,” Brewer said. “We were all a unit today. We talked through everything. Every ball down we went for it. We really gave it our all.”
Maura Murphy brought Glenelg back within one, but Century responded in a big way in the final five minutes of the first half. The Knights scored three straight goals before the break, continuing to succeed on free position opportunities.
Stanton’s goal 11 seconds after Murphy’s served as the momentum boost Century needed. Both Anna and Lauren Hackett added goals in the final 90 seconds of the frame, pushing Century’s halftime lead to four.
Glenelg responded out of the break. Lauren LaPointe and Sophie Cipolla found the back of the net, trimming the deficit to two less than five minutes into the second half.
However, when they needed to regain control the Knights once again turned to the Hackett sisters. Lauren found a cutting Caroline Little up the middle for the Knights’ seventh goal, as Anna followed three minutes later with her fourth. Her goal came out of the timeout, as she sprinted from the far side in between several Gladiators defenders for the finish, extending the lead to 8-4 with 15:15 remaining.
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“We worked really hard in practice to work together as a team and move the ball,” Anna said. “We just connected really well as a team on the field today.”
Fifteen minutes away from the end of its season, Glenelg found the offensive rhythm it was previously lacking. Isa Torres and Emma Kennedy struck back-to-back, trimming the deficit to two with 6:30 remaining. The Gladiators continued to inch closer as Cipolla scored her second of the afternoon, making it a one-goal game with 4:23 remaining.
“They were not turning over the ball, taking care of the ball and we just ran out of time” Glenelg coach Nicole Trunzo said.
Despite Glenelg having all of the momentum, the Knights remained composed down the stretch. With 2:20 remaining, Century drew a yellow card, setting up a player advantage for two minutes.
The veteran group took full advantage, patiently operating offensively, winding the final 140 seconds off the game clock. As the final horn sounded, the Knights players and coaches sprinted to one another rejoicing on the opportunity to keep their state championship aspirations alive.
“I think we just keep focusing and keep preparing for the future,” Groves said. “This is a hurdle that we’ve been able to leap, but there’s still a lot more competition to come. We’ve got to refocus, celebrate tonight.”
Goals: C — Anna Hackett 4, Lauren Hackett 2, Jasmine Stanton 1, Caroline Little 1. G — Sophie Cipolla 2, Isa Torres 1, Emma Kennedy 1, Maura Murphy 1, Lauren LaPointe 1, Carleigh Callahan 1.