By Jeffrey Wojtala
The 2A George Mason Girls Lacrosse team won its first 4A State Championship by beating the Northern Conference champion Riverside High School 15-14 last Saturday.
Being the first state championship in lacrosse for George Mason High School, it came as a delight to the Mason faithful.
“When the final whistle blew everyone rushed the field. There weren’t any dry eyes!” Mustang head coach Courtney Gibbons said. “This is the best team I’ve been a part of, both as a player and coach. They are such a special group.”
The Mason girls (18-2) had suffered both of their losses to the then-undefeated Riverside Rams (18-1) during the regular season and the region championship two weeks ago, so the final game was surely going to be one for the record books.
Play began and Riverside jumped out to an early lead after scoring twice in the first two minutes of the game. Senior midfielder Sarah Lubnow, who will be playing for Virginia Tech in the fall, was not going down without a fight during her last game as a Mustang. Lubnow took a well placed pass from junior midfielder Amy Roche and Mason was on the board. Riverside then responded right back to make it a 3-1 game. Junior defender Claire Hiscott would put the ball behind the Rams’ goalie to bring the Mustangs back within one. Mason would win the following draw and a minute later Lubnow found the back of the net to knot the score at 3-3.
Riverside broke the tie and three minutes later added to their lead to go up 5-3. Gibbons called time to calm her team and refocus them to the task ahead. The pairing of Roche to Lubnow would strike again as Lubnow brought the score to 5-4 with another well-placed shot on the cage. Twelve seconds later the Hiscotts would tie up the game when Claire Hiscott found her older sister, senior attacker Hannah Hiscott, in front of the Rams’ net to bury her shot to make it 5-5.
The Rams would not be so easily dispatched and again reeled off two goals to take a 7-5 lead. Mason and Riverside would then trade goals until Hiscott caught a pass from Lubnow to put Mason back to within one, 8-7. Hiscott scored again with 2:23 left in the half to tie the score before the Rams would break the tie 40 seconds later to preserve a one-goal lead. The Mustangs would go on a scoring streak with Johnson and Hiscott recording two more goals to make it a 10-9 Mason lead at the half.
“We were determined after losing last year to get back to the State Championship and win it all,” Gibbons added. “That was a very long bus ride after our [state finals] loss. It took a lot of hard work this whole year both mentally and physically preparing. We did offseason [workouts] two days a week from September – February [and] the girls showed up ready to practice everyday. I was impressed with their work ethic and positive attitudes.”
Mason began where they left off in the first half by having Johnson score her third less than two minutes into the second half. Roche would follow suit in another few minutes to stretch the Mason lead to 12-9 before Riverside scored to stay in the running. Hiscott would then score her fifth, assisted by Roche, and not long after that junior attacker Lizzie Dodge would score her first of the game on an assist from Johnson to put Mason up by 14-10, the largest by either team in the game.
The Rams would soon score three goals quickly, trimming the Mustang lead to 14-13 with 9:23 left to go in the championship game. Mason began a methodical passing possession attack to wind down the clock and kept the Rams off the board thanks to aggressive defense. At the two minute mark Hiscott would score to stretch the Mason lead back to two but a Mason turnover behind the Rams goal would allow the Rams to score with 42 seconds left to bring the lead down to one. Mason would win the draw again and would run out the clock, with Lubnow taking the last shot of the game.