A come-from-behind 9-7 win gave Bishop Ireton it's first VISAA title and first victory over St Stephens/St Agnes School.
The 2014 Bishop Ireton Cardinals girls lacrosse team finished the most successful season in program history with a 20-4 record. They became the first team ever at Bishop Ireton to win both the conference and state titles in the same season.
Cardinals Roll to VISAA Title
The Cardinals beat St. Stephens & St. Agnes 9-7 for the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) state title at Collegiate School in Richmond on Saturday, May 17. The triumph marks the Cardinals’ first 20-win season and the first time Bishop Ireton has ever defeated SSSA in girls’ lacrosse. The big BI win also brings to an end the Saints’ run of seven consecutive state titles (2007-2013).
“These girls were amazing,” said Ireton Coach Rick Sofield. “They went down 4-0 in the first five minutes, then lost the draw and got a yellow card. It could’ve gotten out of control, but they kept calm…caused a turnover and turned it into a quick goal to make it 4-1. “From there we just chipped away.” The Saints led 5-3 at halftime.
The Cardinals finally took the lead 8-7 with 9:45 left in the game. BI spread the field and began to eat big chunks of time as they worked the offensive side of the field. Patience and excellent passing finally paid dividends with 3:59 remaining and the score was 9-7. The Saints could not mount an effective attack against the Cardinals’ defensive wall late in the game, never got an open look, and shots from the perimeter were off target. With time running short, Bishop Ireton forced a last turnover and ran out the clock to secure the win.
Ireton Wins WCAC Title
Ireton’s first-ever state title game victory was preceded by their momentous first-ever Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title at the University of Maryland’s Ludwig Field on Monday, May 12—two huge titles in less than one week. The 17-7 victory over Good Counsel was the first conference championship in any sport for Bishop Ireton since the BI girls’ softball team won the conference title in 2003. Good Counsel had won nine of the last 10 WCAC girls’ lacrosse titles.
This game was close at first, but the Cardinals broke it open with a 10-1 run that turned a 4-4 tie into a 14-5 rout.
“These girls are selfless and care about nothing other than helping each other be their best,” says coach Sofield. “They are a true team.”
In the WCAC championship game, the Cards scored the final three goals of the first half, with two coming in the final 46 seconds. Bishop Ireton then scored nine of the first 11 second-half goals to break it open.
Hard Work Pays Off…
The Nike/US Lacrosse poll places Bishop Ireton #7 in the country; the Brine/TopLaxRecruits.com poll places the Cardinals at #8; the StudentSports.com FAB 50 poll has BI at #6; and the LaxPower.com poll has Ireton at #6 (CCR 85.95). The season included wins against teams from Pennsylvania, California, and Delaware—as well as three total victories against ISL AA teams (SSSA, Georgetown Visitation, and Flint Hill) and one against an IAAM A team (Archbishop Spalding). The April 7 win over Georgetown Visitation was the Cardinals’ first win against the Cubs since 2009.
“The girls have been working on this for 11 months. On our t-shirts, it says ‘it’s not an accident,’ and what we’re saying is we’re working hard, we’re earning this,” Sofield says. “It’s not just that we got lucky for a couple of games. We worked hard to put ourselves in a position to take advantage of opportunities, and that’s what they did.”
Looking Back, Looking Forward
Ireton returns 10 of 12 starters for their 2015 campaign—only Florida-bound goalie Olivia Cole and Rhodes-bound attacker Kendall Cunningham are leaving. Future Gator Cole finishes her high school career with 570 saves and five assists. Future Lynx player Cunningham collected a total of 140 goals and 31 assists during her great three-year tenure at Bishop Ireton.
The 2014-2015 team co-captains are Charlotte Sofield, Kelly Mathews, Kaitlin Luzik, and Natalie Irwin. Next year’s team right now includes six future NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse players: rising seniors Sofield (North Carolina), Luzik (Virginia), Irwin (Navy), and Mathews (Boston University); and rising juniors Kelly Larkin (Navy) and Brittany Dolan (Penn State).
On May 20, Mathews was named the Nike/US Lacrosse Mid-Atlantic “Player of the Week” due to her outstanding performance during the Cardinals’ historic “6 Games in May” WCAC and VISAA playoff victories. The midfielder totaled 13 goals in the WCAC playoffs, including six goals in the championship game versus Good Counsel. Then she scored eight goals in three games in Ireton’s run to the VISAA title, including a two-goal, one-assist performance against St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes.
The US Lacrosse Women’s National Tournament took place May 24-25 in Bel Air, MD, and the Cardinals had nine players among the five teams representing the DC Metro area—Sofield, Mathews, Luzik, Irwin, Larkin, Dolan, Kayla Duperrouzel, Maggie Lohrer, and Amelia Cole.
Cardinals celebrate their first ever WCAC lacrosse title with 17-7 win over defending champs, Good Counsel
Sofield was named Washington Catholic Athletic Conference girls’ lacrosse player of the year. Also named to the All-WCAC first team were O. Cole, Mathews, and Irwin. Earning All-WCAC second team honors were Luzik, Larkin, Lohrer, and Duperrouzel. Receiving All-WCAC honorable mention accolades were K. Cunningham, Christine Macey, Dolan, and Susan Morad. Coach Sofield and Good Counsel head coach Michael Haight were named WCAC co-Coaches of the Year.
Sofield, Luzik, Mathews, and Irwin received All-VISAA first team honors. Duperrouzel and Larkin were All-VISAA second team selections. Coach Sofield was also named VISAA Coach of the Year.
Two days after the VISAA title game, Olivia Cole was named Bishop Ireton’s first-ever Under Armour Senior All-American. She will play for the South team (vs. the North team) in the ninth annual Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic Saturday, July 12, 7:30 p.m. ET, at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, MD. Only the nation’s top girls’ high school seniors are selected each year for the sport’s highest honor. They are selected by a panel of lacrosse experts from Inside Lacrosse Magazine. The year-long selection process includes input from college and high school coaches from across the country as well as nominations from the public.
Two more Cardinals will be in action that same weekend as Cole at Towson University. Sofield has been named an Under Armour Underclass All-American and will play for the Washington, DC, team. Morad will compete and showcase herself as part of the 2016 Under Armour Uncommitted Game in front of scores of college coaches.
Tale of the Numbers…
Over 24 total games, the 2014 team scored an average of 14.83 goals per game while allowing only 7.75 goals per game. Ireton won their final ten games of the season by raising their scoring average to 15.6 goals per game and lowering their goals against average to 6.9 per game. Not by accident, BI won all of those final ten games.
Overall 22 different BI players scored goals during the 2014 season—Mathews (81); K. Cunningham (59); Sofield (48); Larkin (47); Luzik (27); Duperrouzel (22); Kayla Marshall (21); Macey (9); Kate Carney (9); Irwin (6); Maggie Wiltsie (5); Grace Fletcher (4); Caton Brisbin (4); Lohrer (3); Julie Hanson (2); Megan Cunningham (2); Ann Johnson (2); Melanie Hart (1); Claire Heaney (1); Morgan Decanio (1); Dolan (1); and Katie Ryan (1).
Overall 13 different Ireton players made assists during the 2014 season—Sofield (69); Larkin (40); Mathews (27); Luzik (21); Duperrouzel (13); Macey (11); Marshall (10); Lohrer (9); K. Cunningham (9); Carney (6); Fletcher (4); Irwin (3); and O. Cole (3).
The Cole sisters handled goalie duties during the 2014 season. Olivia had 129 saves and Amelia had 20.
The top-five point totals on the team were Sofield (117); Mathews (108); Larkin (87); K. Cunningham (68); and Luzik (48).
Cardinals battled back from 4-0 deficit to claim their first VISAA Division 1 championship at Collegiate School over St Stephens/St Agnes School
It will be an action-packed summer for the girls as they work hard as teammates and opponents for various club teams at tournaments up and down the east coast. They will also be attending many different camps and clinics in an ongoing effort to sharpen their lacrosse skills. Some 2015 Cardinals are going as far afield as Colorado, Massachusetts, and Florida to play in tournaments and attend camps.
The 2014 pre-season analysis from StudentSports.com said: “The Cardinals have steadily improved in each of head coach Rick Sofield’s three seasons, going from a 12-9 record in 2011 to 15-8 in 2012 to 17-6 and a WCAC runner-up finish last year. With 10 returning starters…Bishop Ireton has the potential to have a breakout year.”
The Cardinals certainly had that breakout year and it sure turned out to be a season to remember!
Click here for more on the team’s season.