SILVER SPRING – It came down to the wire, less than a minute of hustle that could have changed the game for either Bethesda-Chevy Chase (B-CC) or Walter Johnson High School girls lacrosse teams.
However, it would be Wildcats who held their line for the remaining seconds of the second half to keep their narrow one-point lead and win, 12-11 on April 15.
The result was emblematic of a game where holding the lead was not assured, where penalties hurt both teams and the whistle was blown enough for the coaches to brew skepticism about the officiating.
“I think it’s really unfortunate some of the officiating got in the way of things,” said B-CC Head Coach Rosana Pagan.
The tensions were high as Walter Johnson (7-2) entered the contest looking for their fourth win in a row while B-CC (8-4) was trying to avoid losing their second consecutive game.
The Wildcats were building off of a hot streak of shutouts, winning by at least 15 points in their last three games, including an 18-0 drubbing of Kennedy. B-CC earned their first loss in five games on April 12 against an undefeated Walt Whitman High School squad. B-CC too had a big win recently, a 21-0 annihilation of Einstein on April 9.
B-CC’s junior midfielder Catherine Gaffney started the game with a goal seconds into the first half. Gaffney and junior midfielder Maggie Lucas scored six and four points, respectively. The duo created mesmerizing passing plays near the goal to confuse Walter Johnson’s sophomore goalkeeper Emma Richardell.
“It was really important that we kept up our energy, and everyone was motivating each other and helping each other out, saying what we should do better, what we need to work on,” said Lucas.
The highest lead either team would have was a three-point margin, and B-CC gave Walter Johnson an early wake-up call with three goals in the first four minutes. Wildcats senior midfielder Sierra Agarwal responded by scoring and putting Walter Johnson on the scoreboard. Agarwal made five goals, but her impact was on how her penetrative style of play made B-CC prioritize defending her.
“This game was a big one for us because B-CC was one of our biggest rivals,” said Agarwal. “We just had to keep composed, we started getting frazzled at one point but we got it back together.”
Walter Johnson went on a three-goal run to tie the game up. Both teams traded the lead until the Wildcats went on to score three more consecutive goals to finish their first-half scoring eight.
Gaffney scored the last first-half goal off of an empty net penalty, where Richardell fouled but sophomore Walter Johnson defender Katy Orndoff was taken out instead which left an open net and B-CC’s easiest goal of the game. Even with their offensive success, Walter Johnson headed into halftime wary with a two-point lead.
After Gaffney scored the opening goal of the second half, Agarwal and senior midfielder Adrienne Bruch stretched the lead to three points again. B-CC would never see the lead again, but they would get close enough to keep Walter Johnson on their toes.
Agarwal’s last shot, an eighth-minute goal, and Walter Johnson’s 12th and final score, left B-CC hunting to make three shots to at least tie the game.
It wasn’t until about two minutes remaining that B-CC scored, courtesy of a shot by Lucas.
In a scramble punctuated by the constant whistle of the referees, the Barons’ offense inched closer to the net until senior forward Lindsay Archer hit the last goal of the game with 54 seconds left.
A sloppy scramble gave way to a turnover, and Walter Johnson killed time until the final whistle to notch the win.
“I think both teams had a lot of heart. So for the girls going out there playing tough, I mean we worked hard,” said Walter Johnson Head Coach Colleen Klipstein. “They put it all on the field, left it on the field, so it was great to see them come out with a win.”