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Lacrosse Notebook: South Carroll's Shannon Finch has memorable finish to 2A state championship game

Lacrosse Notebook: South Carroll's Shannon Finch has memorable finish to 2A state championship game
South Carroll's Shannon Finch (5) is embraced by teammate Abbey Behn after Finch's overtime goal with Riley Evans (3) joining in on the celebration, during the Class 2A girls lacrosse state championship game at Paint Branch High School on May 21, 2019. (Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

When this year’s Class 2A girls lacrosse state championship game went into overtime, one thing became clear — someone was going to be savoring a memory to last for quite some time.

Shannon Finch made sure South Carroll came put on top by scoring the game-winning goal with 12 seconds to go in the first sudden-victory OT period, and the Cavaliers outlasted Hereford 10-9 to earn their program’s first state title.

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Finch started from the left side, weaved through the Bulls’ defense going right, and spun around her opponent to create some shooting space, then whipped the ball into the left portion of the net for the golden goal before taking a dive onto the ground.

The Cavaliers needed it — they looked to be poised to win in regulation, leading 9-8 in the final seconds, but committed a turnover in their own end that resulted in Hereford tying the game and grabbing the momentum.

When SC got a second chance to score in OT, Finch said she was ready. Assistant coach Bill Smith barked out some instructions from the sideline. So did head coach Brigid Scanlon. Finch said she heard Smith’s voice over the din.

“I was just carrying it down the field and I heard Coach Bill on the sideline yell, ‘Take it to goal,” Finch said after the game. “And I was like, ‘All right, I’ve got to do this for the team.’ And it was just incredible scoring the final goal. I think I did a little rock-dodge kind of thing to the inside and just put it in.

“I just saw the space and went for it.”

Finch’s goal ignited a celebration nearly a quarter-century in the making — South Carroll’s only other state finals appearance came in 1993, and the Cavs lost to Severna Park that year in the 4A-3A final. The Cavaliers won their first county championship in school history in 2018, but lost early in the playoffs to rival Century. Determination to improve this spring was evident from the start.

The Cavs lost to the Knights by 10 goals during the regular season — Century won the Carroll County Athletic League title — only to defeat them in the 2A West playoffs a month later. Then came the state final against undefeated Hereford, which had beaten three-time reigning state champion Glenelg in the semifinals.

Finch handled the pressure with ease, and her teammates felt it too.

“I couldn’t breathe when she was going to goal because … I knew she could do it,” said senior Riley Evans. “I knew Shannon was going to pull it out. And then I saw the ball go in the net. I just stood there — ‘We just won states.’ It’s amazing.”

Playing a numbers game at states

A Carroll County girls lacrosse team has at least one state title in each of the last 14 seasons. Century won titles in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, and 2017; Winters Mill won in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013; Manchester Valley in 2014, 2015, and 2016; and Westminster in 2018 and 2019.

Carroll had four teams playing in state finals with Century’s boys and SC’s girls in 2A, and Westminster’s boys and girls in 3A. And the county claimed three champs in one year for the first time as well.

Undefeated and undeniable

Three of the county’s four boys lacrosse state championships have come from teams with unbeaten records.

Winters Mill won Carroll’s first boys state crown back in 2007, an overtime win over Parkside in the 2A-1A final that gave the Falcons a 19-0 record. Westminster matched that mark in 2013, and duplicated it this spring with its second consecutive 3A crown. In 2018, the Owls lost their season opener before winning 18 games in a row.

Westminster head coach Steve DeFeo presents the championship trophy to his players following their win over Northern-Calvert during the Class 3A boys lacrosse state championship game at Paint Branch High School on Wednesday, May 22.
Westminster head coach Steve DeFeo presents the championship trophy to his players following their win over Northern-Calvert during the Class 3A boys lacrosse state championship game at Paint Branch High School on Wednesday, May 22. (Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)
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