By: John Knebels
WEST CHESTER, PA – Archbishop Carroll’s lacrosse team now knows what it’s like for celebrities who deal with paparazzi.
After winning the PIAA Class 2A state title over Strath Haven, 14-6, at West Chester East High School on June 12, pockets of players gathered in different spots outside the playing field and continued a celebration that had begun in earnest a few minutes earlier.
Cell phones captured stills and video from every direction. First, a few group shots taken about a dozen times just to get it right. Then players separated by their respective classes. Then some frame-worthy smiles and hugs with various family members.
Then . . . it was time to go home. A season that had included a 20thconsecutive Catholic League championship and the program’s second state title – the other one earned in 2017 – was officially over.
Carroll coach Lorraine Beers has been through this before. She knew what to expect.
“I’d have to say it’s a joy I feel for the girls on the team, and that stays forever,” said Beers. “The tough part is losing some to graduation. The day after the very end, you realize you won’t see this group together again on the field as a team.
“It’s very bittersweet because you know they are going onto college to play and be successful, and you want that for them.”
Six Carroll senior starters are moving on. Their last memory in a Patriots uniform will be shrugging off uncomfortably hot temperatures and recovering from a 4-2 halftime deficit and outscoring Strath Haven by 12-2 in the second half.
Led by Catholic League Most Valuable Player senior Keri Barnett’s four goals and two assists, seven different Patriots found some twine. Junior Emma Talago (three assists), junior Kiley Mottice (assist), senior Julia Basciano (assist), and sophomore Machaela Henry each tallied twice; senior Nicole Pawelec and freshman Sienna Golden added one goal apiece.
Many Lady Patriots are playing summer lacrosse. Carroll’s team was invited to the National High School Lacrosse Showcase in Baltimore this week and went 5-1, losing in the showcase championship that was televised by ESPNU.
Nothing, however, will compare with what Carroll accomplished in front of a large crowd dominated by a loud, sometimes obnoxious Strath Haven contingent.
“To be able to play for such a dominant program with great coaches, players, and history is truly such an honor,” said Barnett, who will play lacrosse and major in nursing at West Chester University. “Winning the state championship is a reflection of all of the hard work we have all put in. I’m so proud to be a part of this family and I know that my teammates, coaches, and I will hold on to this feeling for a long time.”
Drexel University-bound senior Karli Dougherty agrees.
“The feeling of winning that game is a feeling that stays with me for time to come,” said Dougherty. “My teammates and I can all say the same – holding the trophy with our coach is a feeling filled with accomplishment and pride. I take that memory with me and apply it to what I can do at my lacrosse career at Drexel and my future.”
Freshman Brooke Wilson teamed with fellow defender Dougherty and midfielders Barnett, Henry, and Golden to constantly frustrate Strath Haven, thus resulting in superfluous physical aggression that cost the Panthers six yellow cards.
Also a standout basketball player, Wilson doesn’t expect the ecstasy of winning a state title to wear off anytime soon.
“The feeling is alive and well,” said Wilson. “With my first PCL and state championship under my belt, I look forward to bringing the same mentality, enthusiasm, and commitment into basketball season. I will always remember sharing this special feeling of winning a state championship with my teammates and coaches.”
Countless photos and videos will make the recall that much more enjoyable.
(Contact John Knebels at Jknebels@gmail.com or on Twitter @johnknebels.)