After 3 straight near misses, Mt. Lebanon girls capture WPIAL Class 3A lacrosse crown

Thursday, May 23, 2024 | 9:27 PM

Mt. Lebanon girls lacrosse coach Brian Kattan joked he didn’t want his team to become the Buffalo Bills.

“No offense to Buffalo, but I didn’t want to lose four in a row,” Kattan said. “We wanted to stay away from that.”

The Blue Devils can rest assured they won’t have the same distinction the Bills do of losing four straight championship games.

After suffering heartbreak at Robert Morris’ Joe Walton Stadium each of the last three years, the Blue Devils finally broke through with a 16-11 victory over Pine-Richland in the WPIAL Class 3A final Thursday night.

“It’s tremendous, but it’s not just for me,” Kattan said. “It’s more for our seniors than anything. I’ll be back next year. They won’t. They have this. They wanted it from day one when we started and they did it.”

It was a rematch of last year’s 3A final, which Pine-Richland won in comeback fashion. The Blue Devils made sure that didn’t happen again this time.

After it was tied 7-7 at halftime, Mt. Lebanon outscored the Rams 9-4 over the final two quarters to win its first title in eight years.

Mt. Lebanon’s leading scorer, senior Addison Murdoch, was double teamed most of the night, but it opened up more opportunities for others and they took advantage.

Addison’s younger sister, Quinn Murdoch, led the charge with five goals. Morgan Daniels, Lucy Pryor and Sarah Hudak added a hat trick each.

“It was about balance,” Kattan said. “We knew they were going to shut off Addie Murdoch, because they did that last time. They didn’t think the rest of our team could score goals, but we have enough people that can score goals on this team that if we took our time, we could pick them apart.”

Addison Murdoch played a huge role on faceoffs, helping the Blue Devils win 19 of 31 draw controls.

After halftime, the Blue Devils got consecutive goals from Pryor, Hudak and Daniels to take control.

It was similar to how the first half started, as Mt. Lebanon had three goals before Pine-Richland got possession.

Pine-Richland coach Shannen Drennon called timeout after the Blue Devils made it 10-7, and the Rams responded with goals from Madeline Mill and Claire Mill to cut the lead to one. Free position goals by Pryor and Nora Austin pushed the lead back to 12-9.

Kendyll Jerry scored for the Rams late in the third to cut it to 12-10, but the Rams never got closer the rest of the way.

“Getting behind early in a game like this is really hard to come back from,” Drennon said. “We always felt like we were behind, which was tough, but our girls kept trying to answer. We just ran out of steam at the end.”

Mt. Lebanon scored eight of its goals on free position shots after a foul was called on Pine-Richland.

“They had a little extra push when they really needed it,” Drennon said. “Obviously the calls didn’t go the way we wanted them to on some of them, but at the end of the day, we gave it our all to the very end. That’s really all you can ask for.”

Madeline Mill and Cate Gentile each had a hat trick for the Rams. Mill went down with an injury to her ankle in the second half but returned after receiving treatment. She also had four assists, meaning she factored in on seven of Pine-Richland’s 11 goals.

Both teams will continue their season in the state playoffs.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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