(May 15, 2015) The Stephen Decatur girls’ lacrosse team captured its second consecutive 3A-2A East Region championship title Wednesday, with a 10-4 victory over the Calvert Cavaliers in Prince Frederick.
Senior Payton VanKirk scored for Decatur, the No. 1 seed in Section I of the 3A-2A East Region, with 8:38 remaining in the first half. She gave the Lady Seahawks a 2-0 advantage 21 seconds later.
Calvert, the No. 2 seed in Section II, answered with a goal at the 6:53 mark and netted another one second before halftime.
“[Calvert] held the ball a lot. They knew if they would run and gun they’d lose,” Decatur Coach Bob Musitano said. “It was a long bus ride and we were off a little. We had a lot of turnovers in the first half. We needed to settle down and take care of the ball.”
Musitano shifted players around a bit in the first half as well as in the second half, which proved to be successful.
Sophomore Lexie VanKirk provided Decatur with the go-ahead goal a minute and a half into the second half. Forty-two seconds later, sophomore Brigitte Ardis put the Seahawks on top 4-2 and the Berlin squad had the momentum from that point on.
“We chipped away and chipped away and played our game,” Musitano said. “They started to relax and get into their game.”
The visiting Seahawks netted five additional shots to boost their advantage to 9-2.
“The seniors took charge and knuckled down,” Musitano said. “All the girls played well. We played excellent defense.”
Payton VanKirk led Decatur (16-0) with three goals and an assist. Sophomore Claire Porter chipped in with two goals and three assists. Ardis and junior Elle Bargar scored two goals each and Lexie VanKirk had one. Senior Blair Yesko logged four assists.
Senior captain, goalie Jillian Petito, stopped eight Calvert shots.
“Our team was really excited to win the regional title, it’s a huge honor for us,” Petito said.
Decatur advanced to the regional championship after trouncing the Kent Island Buccaneers 17-6 on Monday in the Section I finals in Berlin.
The Seahawks led 9-0 before the Buccaneers scored with 1:40 remaining in the first half. They notched a second goal with 1:22 to play. Kent Island shot two more past Petito to cut Decatur’s lead to 9-4 early in the second half, but that was the closest the Bucs would get.
Payton VanKirk led the charge with four goals. Yesko tallied three goals and five assists.
Lexie VanKirk (three assists) and Bargar logged three goals apiece. Porter (two assists) and sophomore Victoria Kerkovich each scored twice. Petito recorded seven saves.
“It was a tough game for the girls. Kent Island played very physical,” Musitano said. “It was a gut check for them. They had to woman-up and play through adversity and they did.”
Decatur earned a spot in the sectional finals against Kent Island after a 17-2 win over the James M. Bennett Clippers last Friday in Berlin.
Payton VanKirk led the team with three goals. Yesko (three assists), Kerkovich and Bargar contributed two goals each.
Petito made four saves. Sophomores Sara Mitrecic and Rachel Florek also saw some time in the goal. Each stopped two Bennett shots.
Decatur will meet the Hereford Bulls, the 3A-2A North Region champs, today, Friday at 6 p.m. at Annapolis High School in the state semifinal round.
To come out on top, Musitano said, the Seahawks must play with intensity, be composed and control the ball.
“Hereford is a really good team and we will be working hard at practice in order to prepare for the game,” Petito added. “In order to be successful, we will have to work well as a team and play to the best of our capabilities. If we are able to do that we can win.”