In the span of six days, the Mercy lacrosse team’s three-win regular season in the conference became a distant memory.
After closing the regular season with losses in 10 of their final 12 games, the Magic won three straight playoff games, capped off by Saturday’s 9-3 victory over Annapolis Area Christian School in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference final.
Mercy, the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, won its third straight conference title and fourth since 2011.
“Everything came together in the playoffs,” Mercy coach Brian Casserly said. “Everything was close during the season. We had a bunch of one-goal losses. We talk every season at the beginning of the year about there’s really only three games that matter.”
Mercy’s victory on Saturday came against an AACS team it fell to twice in the regular season, once by two goals and another by a goal. The Magic lost nine games by a goal or two, including three in overtime. After going 3-9 in the conference, they won their three playoff games by a combined 37-23.
McDonogh (21-0) took back the championship it had held for nine straight years before last season, when Notre Dame Prep ended the Eagles’ 198-game win streak.
By Rich Scherr
May 11, 2019 at 7:40 PM
“It wasn’t that hard to convince them. I think they knew what was going on,” Casserly said. “They knew we played some really good games. They knew they were there and they knew they could do it.”
Bailey Krahl, the team’s leading scorer, led Mercy again on Saturday with four goals. She scored two goals in each half, including one in the final seconds of the first half that gave the Magic a 4-0 lead.
“Something clicked,” she said. “Coming into this game, we knew we could take on this team no matter what. During practices, you could just feel it.”
Saturday’s loss ended an otherwise stellar season for AACS, which lost its first and last games of the regular season and won 11 straight in between.
“It was tough today. We just didn’t show up,” AACS coach Deanna Thorpe said. “They wanted it a little bit more, I guess.”
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Mercy (9-10) had a 5-0 lead six minutes into the second half. Its defense, led by four-year starter Marissa Lesko, drew a pair of charges in the first half, while Caleigh Forti stopped the first seven shots she saw and didn’t give up her first goal until the 15:52 mark of the second half.
“We were losing a lot this season, but we put it together in the end,” said Forti, who finished with 10 saves. “We worked as a team, and it showed. We worked like dogs this week and we pushed ourselves mentally and physically.”
Mickey Burnett scored three goals, Madison Laine and Courtney Lesko each added a goal and Emma Aviles recorded two assists for Mercy, which lost nine of 10 in the conference after a 2-0 start.
“The underdog role is always awesome,” Casserly said. “Last year, we had a ton of senior leadership and had a ton of really good players who logged a ton of minutes. This year was a little bit different. We had a lot of youth on the field, and that’s why early in the season things were the way they were.”
Lydia Wood scored a pair of goals and Livy Lenhart added a goal for AACS (12-3). The Eagles will lose five seniors from this year’s team that had the best record in the conference during the regular season.”