By Owen Gotimer
South Riding (May 27, 2016) — Freedom High School senior Stephanie Harris took it into her own hands to make sure the Lady Eagles magical girls lacrosse season didn’t stop short of championship glory as she scored four goals – including three in the second half – to lead Freedom past rival John Champe High School, 13-7, in the Evergreen Group championship on May 26.
“We have never gotten this far, so it’s a really new feeling and it feels amazing,” Harris said. “We just realized we had a lot more to give and we just laid it all out there.”
Harris and the Lady Eagles were in a hole early when John Champe junior Sydney Suter scored less than four minutes into the first half. While Freedom — led by the first half effort of senior Megan Balog — went on to take a 3-1 lead, Suter and sophomore teammate Natalie Kang added late first half goals to even the halftime score at 4-4.
“We’ve been a second half team all year, so it’s not the first time we’ve done that,” Freedom head coach Richard DeSomma said. “They have been there; three times we were down two at the half.”
Freedom junior Hannah Capestany scored just two minutes into the second half to give the Lady Eagles the momentum and lead from which they’d never look back.
“Once they got on a roll they got a little bit of confidence, and they were able to stall out the rest of the game, so that was tough for us, but we gave it our all,” John Champe head coach Kathy Kerr Gonzalez said.
“George Mason’s a very solid team who we’ve played in the fast,” Kerr Gonzalez said. “But we had a much better season than we anticipated, and it’s all coming together for us.”
And it’s staying together for Freedom who improved to 17-0 with their Evergreen Group championship game win over John Champe. But a true test lies in the Lady Eagles near future when they host the back-to-back reigning state champion Woodgrove Wolverines in a VHSL 4A West zone semifinal on May 31 in South Riding.
“I’ve already been scouting Woodgrove. It’s not pretty. They are very good,” DeSomma said. “It’s not going to be easy. We’ll just give it our best.”
DeSomma said he can’t ask for much more than his student-athletes’ best efforts as the Lady Eagles already earned some hardware.
“The group championship is really what you aim for because if you win this, you get to go home with something,” DeSomma said. “Anything beyond the group championship is extra. I’ve done this before. I always aim for this so that you have something to go home with. After that you just hope to get lucky because when you go to regions and states, all the teams are so good.”
1H 21:28 JC Suter
1H 17:14 F Harris
1H 16:48 F Balog
1H 11:50 F Balog
1H 11:25 JC Tarring
1H 4:59 F Balog
1H 1:30 JC Suter
1H 0:13 JC Kang
2H 22:34 F Capestany
2H 19:51 F Harris
2H 17:11 F Dineen
2H 15:52 F Lichtenberg
2H 15:14 JC Dunlap
2H 14:42 F Lichtenberg
2H 13:33 JC Suter
2H 12:32 F Harris
2H 11:46 F Dineen
2H 8:18 F Dineen
2H 4:13 F Harris
2H 3:39 JC Tarring