Rams resist stout charge by Cougars
ROBINSON 16, OAKTON 12
The final game of this historic Robinson girls’ lacrosse season started out like so many before it. The Rams’ attack clicked on all cylinders, with goals coming almost as fast as the preceding pass arrived in the net of their sticks. The heavy favorites seemed to be cruising again.
But these Rams would soon need to call on the sort of resolve they have rarely had to muster, and ultimately it made the end result that much sweeter.
Robinson took Oakton’s best shot Saturday in the Virginia 6A state finals at Lake Braddock, responding with a late charge to secure a 16-12 win and capture the school’s first state championship in girls’ lacrosse since 2003.
Sophomore Katie Checkoskey found classmate Elli Kluegel for the eventual game-winner after Oakton had cut Robinson’s lead to one with a five-goal spurt in the second half. The Rams (21-1), who finished this season undefeated against public school competition, scored four of the game’s final five goals once the Cougars threatened to pull off the unlikely upset.
“We decided that this is the moment when we had to turn it on,” Kluegel said of those critical moments. “We weren’t going to lose. It wasn’t an option.”
This victory is the culmination of Robinson’s rebuild under Coach Liz Case. The Rams are just two seasons removed from finishing with an under .500 record.
Senior All-Met Izzy Obregon scored four goals and Checkoskey added three goals and five assists. Kluegel and senior Mackenzie Schuler also had hat tricks, while Kaitlin Luccarelli chipped in with four points.
But the coronation did not begin early, not when Oakton (12-7) refused to give in facing a 9-3 halftime deficit. Over a seven-minute span midway through the second half, the Cougars unexpectedly seized control. Consecutive goals by Lydia Montanino and a free position goal by senior Kelsey McWilliams trimmed Robinson’s lead to 11-10 and forced Case to call timeout.
Case then looked around the Rams’ huddle and asked: “Do you want a state title?” It was then that the heart of this champion finally emerged.
“That was very nerve wracking, but it made it more fun,” Schuler said. “I wanted to go out with a bang and that’s what we did. I couldn’t be happier.”