Despite no 3-peat, Hampton girls lacrosse proud of another strong season
Thursday, June 6, 2019 | 4:59 PM
Often times, great programs are unhappy with results other programs would call a milestone. But Hampton girls lacrosse, though disappointed in its WPIAL silver medal, is keeping things in perspective after its 15-12 loss to Oakland Catholic in the final.
“To come up one win short in terms of a medal, that’s tough,” coach Kelsey Viets said. “It’s tough when I see seven starting seniors on the field where, that was their shot. I told them, ‘Listen, no one’s head should be down. You got a medal. That’s better than fourteen other teams that competed to get to this level.’
“I think that’s tremendous, and our program, when you win back-to-back titles, people might want to see another team up top. We’ve had that mentality. We’re a close knit roster, and for us, I’m really proud of the effort.”
The two-time defending WPIAL champs were dealt a tough hand, losing the third-leading scorer in program history, Melinda Maers, to a season-ending injury. The team persevered with a strong senior class with college commits Sarah Rech (Akron) and Liz Dolan and Molly Wojcik (Allegheny). The Talbots (17-4) also had a penchant for pulling out close victories, particularly in the playoffs. The team showed its versatility with a 6-4 win in a defensive struggle in the quarterfinals against Blackhawk.
“I said it was going to be a battle of the defenses, and that’s what it was,” Viets said. “Our defense pulled through on that.”
The 12-11 victory over Quaker Valley in the semifinals was even closer.
The Quakers took the lead with a less than a minute left in the game, but Hampton’s championship instincts took over. The team scored with 28 seconds left, and Nikita Corbelli buried a goal with 1 second left to send Hampton to its third straight final.
The loss in the final to Oakland Catholic was nothing to be ashamed about. The Eagles finished 15-0 in WPIAL play, beating Hampton in the regular season as well. The game highlighted some of the Talbots’ rising stars, including sophomores Jillian Stennett and Megan Cook, the latter of whom logged a hat trick after scoring four in the final last year.
“They were both critical in the midfield and defense in Jillian’s standpoint,” Viets said. “They both play club in the summer, I gave them a lot of feedback on things to hone in on so we can rely on them as club veterans on next season’s roster.”
The tradition of a strong senior class passing on a tradition of leadership has formed the backbone of one of the WPIAL’s premier girls lacrosse programs.
“My seniors certainly led the charge,” Viets said. “Any underclassman that I’m putting in the game, they have their back. They pump them up.”
In the PIAA tournament, the Talbots lost in the first round to York Catholic, 18-5. Viets thought the loss in the WPIAL final gave the team a tougher draw.
“That hurt us a little bit in terms of the PIAA,” she said. “We drew a really tough seed for that first round. The only way to get better against those teams as a region is to play them early in often.”
Viets said she would like to see more preseason and regular-season matchups between WPIAL programs and programs from eastern part of the state.