Pine-Richland gets past Mt. Lebanon in dramatic WPIAL Class 3A girls lacrosse title game
Thursday, May 25, 2023 | 11:54 PM
The stakes were higher Thursday at Robert Morris as the teams squared off for the WPIAL championship. The Rams again emerged victorious with a 13-12 win to capture their first title since 2018 and third overall.
“We knew going into the season that (Mt. Lebanon was) going to be our biggest competition,” said first year Pine-Richland coach Shannen Drennon. “We knew we had to come out strong and use all of our threats on offense and be aggressive on defense. The girls, they wanted it so bad, and that’s what really separated the game at the end.”
Dernnon said the Rams didn’t plan on ending with the same score.
“It’s kind of weird how it worked out that way,” she said with a laugh. “We knew coming in it was going to be a tough game.”
The evenly matched teams went back and forth with the biggest lead being a 5-2 Pine-Richland margin in the first half.
There were seven ties in the contest, and the game was knotted 9-9 after Madeline Mill scored her third goal of the game 5:53 into the second half.
Mill added a pair of assists for Pine-Richland while sophomore Kendyll Jerry netted a hat trick with an assist. Taylor Wilkinson had a goal and an assist while sophomore Claire Dosch made seven saves to pick up the win.
“We have a lot of great threats, but with Madeline, there is just something about her,” Drennon said of the team MVP Mill. “She’s a game changer, and she is going to make something happen for herself and her teammates. The main reason she was MVP is that she is a very selfless player.”
Cate Gentile and Hannah Young scored back-to-back goals to give the Rams an 11-9 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Tegan Hoover netted her third goal of the game with 4:57 remaining to pull the Blue Devils within one at 12-11.
Shortly after that, Gentile was issued her second yellow card of the game, and Mt. Lebanon had a player up advantage.
But the Pine-Richland defense killed off the two-minute card, and Young scored her fourth goal of the night to put the Rams up by two with 2:10 left.
“The whole coaching staff, we talked about what we would do in that (player down) situation,” said Drennon. “We were really strategic about our subs and when we went a little bit more defensive, we used the sub box to our advantage.”
Mt. Lebanon’s Addi Murdoch, who scored five goals and had two assists on the night, was fouled with just over a minute remaining. She had to leave the game after the trainer came onto the field as she was shaken up. Nora Austin came in and converted the free position opportunity to make the score 13-12.
The Blue Devils gained possession with inside of a minute remaining and after a timeout, Mt. Lebanon worked the ball to Murdoch, who was tripled teamed. She found her sister Quinn Murdoch, but her shot was blocked, time ran out, and the Rams celebrated.
Quinn Murdoch scored twice on the night for Mt. Lebanon (16-3), while older sister Addi, who is a Pitt commit, now has tallied 60 goals on the season. Morgan Daniels added a goal and assist for the Blue Devils, who finished as the 3A WPIAL runner-up for the third consecutive season.
Pine-Richland improved to 18-3. The Rams will face District 10 champion McDowell in the state playoffs. Mt. Lebanon will face the District 3 champion when the PIAA playoffs begin June 6.
Quaker Valley 15, Chartiers Valley 11 – Lucy Roig scored four goals and Kyra Gabriele and Alexa Westwood added three apiece as No. 7 Quaker Valley defeated No. 5 Chartiers Valley in the Class 2A third-place game.
Shannon Von Kaenel and Sydney Hewitt scored twice, Emma Smith had a goal and two assists, and Tia Pethel added three assists for the Quakers, who earned the third and final PIAA playoff berth from the WPIAL and will meet the District 3 champ in the first round June 6.
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