Annie Cory seemed set on holding on to the League of Independent Schools trophy. Nearly a half hour after the St. Anne’s-Belfield’s girls lacrosse team had been awarded the trophy, the senior was still holding onto it.
Who could blame her? Cory had just helped lead a team that a lot of people weren’t sure what to make of to a second-straight LIS title with a 9-8 nailbiter of a victory over Collegiate.
“We lost a lot of strong players and we knew we were going to have to bring a few along and I just think that they have just come together and played really strong lacrosse,” said STAB coach Mary Blake.
Cory herself managed to milk the clock in the closing seconds, grabbing a loose ball out of the game’s final draw control before sprinting down the sideline. After absorbing a pair of fouls, the buzzer sounded and STAB celebrates their escape. The Saints had to lean on Mailynn Steppe on the draw after a card forced Caroline DiGiacomo to the penalty box.
“I think a lot of this has come from us just gelling as a team,” Cory said. “Whether it’s been on the attack end and just getting more players involved and everyone being a threat or on defense where we’re getting from clears to transition and we’re all crashing the ball. It took a little time maybe at the beginning of the season but I think we really just came together.”
The Saints kept battling as Collegiate sliced into their lead down the stretch, nearly erasing a 9-5 STAB lead in the closing minutes. A late save by keeper Brittany Schoeb and the draw control grab by Cory proved to be the difference makers.
Cory finished with a pair of goals while McKenzie Maurer scored four and Caroline DiGiacomo had a hat trick. Maurer also led the Saints with three draw controls.
The Saints closed the regular season on a tremendous tear, in part because STAB got incredible leadership from a group of seniors bent on making this season a memorable one.
“It’s not just Caroline and Annie who are scoring all the goals, Maddie (Hunter) has stepped up as a leader, Mailynn has stepped up as a leader,” Blake said. “The senior class in general has stepped up to lead this group.”
The Saints will now turn toward the VISAA Division I postseason where they’ll likely be seeded third in the state behind St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes and Bishop Ireton.