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GIRLS LAX: Carroll Wins 23rd Straight PCL Championship, Holds Nothing Back Against a Tenacious Wood Squad

By Josh Abrams (@jabrams1998). Photos: Donna Eckert, 05/23/24, 4:00PM EDT


23x Philadelphia Catholic League Champion - Archbishop Carroll - PSD Photo by Donna Eckert

Photos: Donna Eckert

Videos/Story: Josh Abrams 

Gwynedd Valley, PA - There are many cliche terms and phrases that can apply to teams who continue to make history. 

It is mid-to-late May, after all, and with state tournaments across all spring sports getting underway sooner than later after postseason league dances conclude, the stakes are only higher.

For the 2024 girls lacrosse season in the Philadelphia Catholic League, however, let's use this commonplace saying: Nothing changes if nothing changes.  

Archbishop Carroll's Brooke Hippert and Sienna Golden Reflect on Capping Off Senior Year with Convincing Championship Victory

For the 23rd consecutive season, the Archbishop Carroll Patriots took home the PCL championship for girls lacrosse, this time via a 25-2 defeat of Archbishop Wood.

The powerhouse Patriots were led by a more-than-balanced offensive scoring attack; senior Brooke Hippert paced all scorers with four goals, while fellow seniors Chloe Bleckley, Sienna Golden and Sam Hewitt each chipped in with three goals apiece. 

The current run being put on display by Carroll over the past quarter-century is beyond the depths of remarkable and unprecedented. Even for someone like Golden, who ended her PCL tenure with yet another plaque, the feat is certainly one she still does not take for granted. 

"23rd (PCL Title) in a row is crazy," Golden remarked after the game. "I think it's all (a testament to) how we work together on and off the field." 

The catalyst behind it all is longtime head coach Lorraine Beers, who took over right at the turn of the 21st century. But we're coming up on 25 years of such sustained success, which is unheard of. The school graduated eight seniors from last year's team; it's marveling how they keep finding ways to win. 

"Beers is the epitome of this program, and the way she pushes us... on and off the field... to be better versions of ourselves... I think that's what contributes most to our success here at Carroll," said Golden. 

This team is clearly talented from top-to-bottom, on both sides of the ball, and it showed as they breezed through league play with ease. But even with playing in familiar territory after another perfect record in the PCL, the Carroll squad understood the task at hand. 

"Before the game (Coach) Beers said 'let's think of this as Conestoga (9-7 loss)' and get our revenge from what we couldn't do in that game," said the fellow senior Hippert. "We have to come out strong for every game... because you never know what could happen." 

Wood Goalkeeper Molly White holds strong on first shot, but Carroll's Sienna Golden cleans up miss (Video for PSD by Josh Abrams)

Hippert sneaks in from behind the net and records first half hat trick, assisted by Claire Sexton (Video for PSD by Josh Abrams)

And strong, did they come out. In rapid succession, too. It only took less than 90 seconds for Hippert to get the scoring started in the first quarter. Then another Carroll senior, Sam Hewitt, found the back of the net just 37 seconds afterwards, and again later in the period. Claire Sexton, a junior, found paydirt twice as well. Her classmate, Kate O'Neill, rounded out the scoring in the opening frame, tallying her first goal with 30 seconds left. The scoreboard showed 10-0 in favor of the Patriots after 12 minutes. 

A goal by Maddie Auxer gives Archbishop Wood its second of contest (Video for PSD by Josh Abrams)

Archbishop Wood's Maddie Auxer and Hailey McHugh Share Thoughts on Experience of Getting to Finally Lead Their Team to a PCL Title Game (Video for PSD by Josh Abrams)

Carroll's lead would only expand as the game went on, but Wood refused to back down without a fight. It wasn't until the late stages of the third quarter but the Female Vikings eventually broke through thanks to goals from the senior duo of Maddie Auxer and Hailey McHugh. Their goals happened within minutes of each other and provided a much needed spark for Wood. 

The stage was brand new for everybody involved with the girls lacrosse program of Archbishop Wood; except for its head coach Erin Eckert. The leader for her alumni happened to be on the last team to make it to the PCL finals in 2016, the year she graduated.

White doing all she can in net to keep Carroll off the board early in first quarter (Video for PSD by Josh Abrams)

White keeps a shot from Carroll's Claire Sexton from reaching the back of the net (Video for PSD by Josh Abrams)

For the two goal-scorers, reaching this point in the season and earing the opportunity to play for a Catholic League championship was a monumental accomplishment in and of itself.

"It couldn't have been more perfect that we're getting here our senior year," Auxer said. "I'm really happy that we were able to do it with all of the seniors." 

Typically it's easy to leave your head hanging in disappointment when reaching this point and falling short. But, turns out that was the last thing these girls did in the end. 

"(Coach Eckert) always tells us to focus on the small victories, and I think we had a lot of them this game," McHugh said. "I think we all collectively played really well as a team and hit the goals we wanted to this season."

"Despite the score sheet (Coach Eckert) always told us 'look how far we've come'" added Auxer. "We've never made it this far in my four years on the team, and it's definitely an accomplishment no matter the score." 

The win improves Carroll's overall record to 17-2, and they will await the third seed from District One in the upcoming PIAA tournament. Whoever that team is will need their best and maybe some more to take down this viciously hungry Patriot team who is seeking their fourth consecutive state championship. 

"We don't treat any team lesser than us," said Golden. "We're going to come in like it's the hardest game we've ever played... we're going to play hard and it all just comes with confidence within ourselves and, especially, each other.