After trip to WPIAL final, Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse vows to maintain winning performance

Sunday, June 23, 2024 | 9:50 AM

Long postseason runs produce defining moments that teams look back on for years, and for this season’s Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse team, it came down to one goal that was not even meant for the back of the net.

After squandering a multi-goal lead to South Fayette in a WPIAL Class 2A semifinal matchup, the Colts were set up for a dramatic overtime finish with a trip to the championship game on the line.

Winning the opening draw of the overtime frame gave the Colts possession, which allowed them to draw up a set play.

From there, it was up to junior Ava Warzinski to deliver a strike to the stick of All-WPIAL junior Juliana Betts. However, the pass missed Betts and what resulted after worked out even better.

“We set up one of our plays to set up Juliana and everything was working out. The goalie was so fixated on Julianna catching the ball, the pass just happened to go in the net. I didn’t realize it until Julianna looked at me and threw her stick down and her jaw dropped and came up and gave me the biggest hug,” Warzinski said.

Warzinski’s goal to clinch an 8-7 win sparked an emotional celebration across the field as the Colts would play for another title two years after winning it all in 2022.

“The goal was crazy because she was near the 30-yard line and went to pass it and it just happened to trickle in. We were all in shock like, ‘Oh my, we just won on a pass. How did we just do that and we’re headed to the championship two years later after we just won it.’ It felt like things were going our way in the weirdest ways,” goalkeeper Kaitlyn Kuczinski said.

Coach Melissa Moran added: “It was bizarre. We were fortunate to win the draw and get the play drawn up. It worked out in our favor. Our girls found a way. It was a combination of shock, excitement and relief all at once.”

The victory extended the Colts’ winning streak to 13 games and pushed them into the championship game with a much different team than they had the last time they competed for a title.

“We had a small team coming into this year. We really came together in the middle of the season after we lost to Mars. We kind of flipped the switch and that’s when our big winning streak happened,” Kuczinski said.

It was all part of a season that saw the program’s best section record at 10-1 with an overall mark of 17-4 and a WPIAL final and state tournament berth even after an eye-opening game early in the season.

“The first game of the season we lost against Canon-Mac and we were all like, ‘We need to make big adjustments.’ To be in the WPIAL final and have the best section record of any CV season is still insane,” Warzinski said.

Despite losing to Mars, 14-6, in the championship game, the Colts’ pursuit for another title started in the first round of the PIAA tournament when they took on a familiar opponent in Conneaut — the same program they saw in round one of states two years ago.

Behind seven goals from junior Mallorie LaGamba, Chartiers Valley downed Conneaut, 15-5.

“That day, we were all really positive. We traveled far and were like, ‘Let’s just get it to running clock and let’s focus on what we need to improve.’ That game went really well for us,” Warzinski said.

The following Saturday, the Colts’ season came to a close after falling to Twin Valley in the quarterfinals.

After a strong postseason run, Chartiers Valley plans to take those missed opportunities and use them as motivation with a strong junior class set to return.

“Us going to the WPIAL final and losing lit a fire under us, and we want to be in that exact same position next year. Having this bond that we love each other so much, there’s a good chance of us doing that,” Warzinski said.

Tasting what it’s like to win and lose in the WPIAL title game, Moran plans to have her team prepared for next season.

“They know they’ve gotten far before, but now they’re seniors and we have to do everything we can to get this group another title, whether that means playing together more in the offseason, getting in the weight room more, all of the above,” she said. “No holding back because we don’t want any wasted opportunities.”


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