State lacrosse champions again -- you go, girls!

The girls varsity lacrosse team, coached by Tami Tommila, takes home the state trophy for the second time in three years with a close win against Overlake. Before the game, midfielder Christen Faltermeier (21) was named to the All-State first team. - JIM WHITING/Staff Photo
The girls varsity lacrosse team, coached by Tami Tommila, takes home the state trophy for the second time in three years with a close win against Overlake. Before the game, midfielder Christen Faltermeier (21) was named to the All-State first team.
— image credit: JIM WHITING/Staff Photo

The girls lacrosse team claimed the state championship by defeating Overlake 11-10 on Friday evening.

The girls took control of the game with a three-goal spurt in less than a minute midway through the first half and went into the break holding what appeared to be a comfortable 9-4 lead.

However, the Owls dominated much of the second half and chipped away at the lead, but some timely saves by Amy Harrington and crucial defensive plays enabled the team to hang on and win their second title in the past three years.

“I’m so happy for the seniors,” said coach Tami Tommila. “They always played in the shadow of the group from last year. So it’s their just desserts to go out with a state championship.

“Our sophomores have some big shoes to fill.”

At least one of those sophomores, Jen Utley, appeared ready for her fitting. With newly minted All-American Christen Faltermeier being double- and triple-teamed, Utley became a major force in the first half.

After Overlake opened the scoring two and a half minutes into the game, Utley weaved through the defense for the first Bainbridge tally.

Overlake quickly regained the lead, but Utley fed Caitlin Kiley to make the score 2-2.

Overlake again took the lead just before the eight-minute mark, but Faltermeier did a quick reversal in front of the net and tied the score for the third time.

After Overlake took the lead for the fourth time, Utley ignited the key Bainbridge burst as she took the center draw and raced downfield for the tying goal.

On the next two draws, Overlake’s taller center tried to exploit her height superiority and draw the ball to herself. But she was cited for drawing illegally and Bainbridge was awarded the ball. Kiley capitalized both times. On the first, she ran downfield, faked a pass to Utley, then slammed home a goal as Bainbridge took the lead. The next time, she attracted two defenders on her rush toward the net and passed to an unmarked Caitlin Holliday for an easy goal.

Three minutes later, Utley scooped up a loose ball and scored for a hat trick, and when Faltermeier scored on a penalty Bainbridge led 8-4. Soon afterward, Harrington blocked a point-blank shot and on the ensuing possession, Utley fed Alec Zimmerman for a 9-4 lead with just over five minutes remaining. Bainbridge had several other chances to score, but narrowly missed their shots.

Overlake served notice early in the second half that they weren’t going quietly, scoring within 30 seconds. Bainbridge retaliated five minutes later when defender Mehgan Colkitt passed to Holliday after a long run to restore the five-point edge.

With the Owl goalie turning aside numerous Bainbridge shots, her teammates cut the margin to 10-8 by the nine-minute mark. A minute later, Zimmerman scored on a penalty shot – the only one of at least four that the team converted in the second half – for an 11-8 lead. But Overlake scored a minute later, and after Harrington deflected a penalty shot with less than four minutes remaining the Owls drew within one as a Bainbridge defender fell down to give an attacker an open shot.

Bainbridge controlled the draw and went into a stall offense, but turned the ball over on an offensive penalty. Overlake rushed downfield for the potential tying goal. In a flurry of action near the net, defender Kela Martinez managed to clear the ball. Several changes of possession followed, but the Owls weren’t able to get close to the goal again and the game ended with Bainbridge holding the ball..

“This was just typical of Bainbridge-Overlake lacrosse,” said Tommila. Though Bainbridge won all three meetings, the total goal difference was just four.

“We played great defense in the last minutes,” Tommila added. “Our defense was No. 1 in the league, and in the end, it was what held us together.”

The team completed the season with an overall 9-1-2 record, going undefeated after a one-goal loss to Lakeside in the season opener.

JV victory

The girls lacrosse JV team won the regular season JV title with a 9-0 record, becoming league champions as there are no playoffs at that level. The team scored 118 goals and gave up just 24, both league bests.

Coach Jan Mueller – who, like the other coach, Karen Bech, is a former BHS lacrosse player herself – said that “our expectations for the team were nowhere near where we ended up. Our aim was to have at least 50 percent wins, develop strong stick skills, build a strong team that could move up to the varsity and have a good time.”

She gave much of the credit for the successful season to the team’s attendance at the Western States tournament in April in Palo Alto, California.

“It gave the girls a chance to play a lot of games against good teams,” she said. “We improved in every game.”

Alex Winnicki and Liz Poland were the league’s two top scorers, with 30 and 25 points respectively.

“But we weren’t a team with one or two stars,” Mueller continued. “Fourteen of our 19 players scored at least two goals and we have at least two or three in the top 10 in every category.

“They were great girls, and very committed as players who loved to play. When we were done with the games, they wanted to keep practicing.”

The team’s other members included Caron Anderson, Jessica Annis, Claire Colegrove, Grace Davis, Hannah Davis, Kitty Galloway, Amy Gulbranson and Annie Kent.

Additional girls were Lindsay Lund, Amanda McNeil, Jessica Mickelsen, Ali Pedersen, Leah Preble, Christen Toepel, Skadi von Reis Crooks, Melinda von Reis-Iglesias and Alex Whedbee.

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