Arnold, Md. – The No. 1 Harford Community College women's lacrosse team claimed its first NJCAA Division I National Championship in program history, defeating the No. 3 Anne Arundel Riverhawks, 22-12, Sunday afternoon at Anne Arundel's Siegert Field.
"After the loss to Anne Arundel in the Region 20 finals, the coaching staff came in and pushed the girls in all aspects. The team bought into it and came in super focused this weekend,” HCC head coach Niki Murphy said. “As a team, we prepared very hard, came together as a family this week and got it done. Everything that has happened this season was meant to be and it's all a part of our story."
After a career high 12 goals against Onondaga on Saturday, Sarah Dudick (Fallston) led the Fighting Owls on offense with eight goals and was named Offensive Tournament MVP. The Harford freshman also snapped the single-season program record for most goals in a season, finishing with 75.
Freshman goalkeeper Amanda Cliffe (Havre de Grace) was named the Defensive MVP of the tournament, making 21 saves across the two games. Cliffe and the Fighting Owls held Anne Arundel scoreless for the final six minutes of the contest, their second lengthy second half shutout of the tournament.
Harford got out to a fast start and never looked back, scoring 14 goals in the first half. Keeley McHugh (Bel Air) netted all five of her goals in the opening 30 minutes to lead the Fighting Owls during this stretch.
Anne Arundel looked better in the second half, but Harford's defense forced the Riverhawks to settle for small two-goal bursts before the Fighting Owls retaliated by scoring one of their own. Three straight draw control wins and a 3-0 scoring run to end the game sealed the victory for Harford.
Beth Bishop (Harford Tech), Sammy DeCarlo (Fallston), Julianna Andrus (Joppatowne) and Paige Graff (Edgewood) added two goals apiece in the win. McKenzie Souder (Edgewood) finished with a goal and assist.
McHugh had two assists, while others with one assist were Bishop, DeCarlo, Dudick, Graff and Souder.
DeCarlo, Rachel Wilson (Havre de Grace) and Caroline Abbott (Fallston) each tallied four ground balls.
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The Fighting Owls finish 2019 with a 14-1 record, the best in program history. Anne Arundel ends the year at 11-4.