Raiders stopped in final
Freedom pulls out victory on goal with 2:10 to play
The Richmond area keeps getting tantalizingly close to a VHSL lacrosse title, but the breakthrough will have to wait another year.
Atlee’s girls lost 9-8 to Freedom-South Riding (Loudoun) in a back-andforth game that featured some stellar goaltending in the Class 5 championship game at Deep Run on Saturday. Freedom got the decisive goal from Rachael Bean with 2:10 to play with the Raiders two players down.
Freedom (19-4), the Region C runner-up, got possession of the draw and ran out the clock, ending Atlee’s bid for an unbeaten season (15-1) and the area’s first boys or girls VHSL title since the league instituted lacrosse championships in 2006.
Atlee’s boys had experienced a similar heartache, losing in the 5A state final in 2015, ’16 and ’17, all by a goal.
“[Winning championships] kind of comes from experience and leadership, people who have been there before,” said Atlee coach Christina
Dobson, whose team was in its first state championship game.
“We had an excellent season, but were we totally really mentally, emotionally, for this game? Maybe not. That’s something next year we’ll have to build on, this experience. It makes me kind of hopeful for the future of our program that now they have this to build on.”
Atlee, the Region B champ, rolled through its regular-season schedule but didn’t play a team outside the area until the state playoffs. Its closest game was a 12-6 victory over Deep Run.
Not really being tested and being in a tight game, Dobson said, was a concern that showed. The Raiders made some turnovers early.
“Since we had never been to this level, I think all of us were just really nervous,” freshman Kate Miller said. “We were really just anxious to start the game. I think the nerves kind of got the best of us at some points, and we didn’t play like we usually do.”
Miller had five goals and two assists and countered five goals from Freedom sophomore Emily Maier. Down 3-1 early, Atlee had a 5-4 lead when Freedom’s Emily Lichtenberg tied the game 6 seconds before halftime.
Neither team could pull ahead by more than a goal in the second half as goalies Stella Harrison of Atlee and Araya McNeal came up with big saves. McNeal made several close-range stops that kept the Raiders from gaining momentum.
Reaghan Kolb had two goals for Atlee. Morgan Koeneke, setting up Maier, had five assists for Freedom.
Atlee has only three seniors — Faith Anna, Kellyn McGlamery and Emily Karn — but all are key players.
“I don’t believe that this is the end of us coming back,” Miller said. “I think that we will be here next year and for years to come. I think that we want it so bad, and we have so many great girls and a great coach, that I think we’ll be back soon. I have no doubt.”
Ashley Karn (left) hugs Emily Karn after Atlee lost to Freedom-South Riding in the Class 5 girls lacrosse state final Saturday.
Class 5 girls lacrosse final FREEDOM-SO.RIDING9, ATLEE 8