Shady Side Academy captains reflect on another WPIAL girls lacrosse championship

Saturday, June 4, 2022 | 11:01 AM

The WPIAL Class 3A title game victory for the Shady Side Academy girls lacrosse team was significant for the seniors who have known nothing but championships.

But it was also significant for their coach.

Coach Katy Phillips, also assistant athletic director for the school, will be leaving for another position after the season at The Tatnall School in Delaware.

She will be the athletic director of the Wilmington private academy.

“This is a nice way to go with the win, so I’ll be moving up,” said the Mt. Lebanon native. Phillips has been coaching the Bulldogs for four seasons.

“It’s a really big accomplishment to do this three years in a row,” senior Dylan Green said. “I think coach put in a lot of work over the last three years and that really speaks to her. Not a lot of coaches have done that. She’s created a culture on this team and we’re really proud of this.”

Shady Side made it three in row with a 15-7 victory over Mt. Lebanon at Robert Morris University.

The Bulldogs had an 8-4 lead before the Blue Devils rallied for three goals. Senior Jenny Woodings had five goals to lead the Shady Side attack.

The Florida recruit scored the game-winner in the 2021 WPIAL title game win over Mt. Lebanon.

“I think it really was a full-team effort from the goalie all the way up to the attackers,” Woodings said. “It took a lot of teamwork, and we were threading the needle through our transition and our attack. It was a challenging game. Closeness is what makes our team successful. We didn’t want to stop showing grit when we had our big lead.”

“I know it sounds cheesy, but we’re really, really close like a family,” CeCe Messner said. “Coach Katy has made this a special, special group. It’s a privilege to play on this team and we take it seriously.”

The Columbia-bound Messner played on the WPIAL champion field hockey team last fall.

Molly Walsh added four goals to the Shady Side cause. She credited the full-team effort for the title-game win.

“I think we’re a team with not just one, two, three players; we’re really a full 12 players and a bench that can go out there and win a game,” Walsh said. “We were really balanced in that game and got it done. It took every single player to get it done.”

Walsh got considerable playing time as a freshman, and she feels the younger Bulldogs this season have taken advantage of runaway games to get experience for the future.

“We want this program to continue when we’re gone,” Walsh added.

Phillips gave credit for the three-peat to her assistants, veteran Brooke Mullin, Robert Morris senior and Shady Side alum Emilie Kim and her father, Bruce Phillips.

‘They help me back to front, keeping me fresh with good ideas,” Katy Phillips said. “It’s been another good year with them.”

Shady Side won its PIAA opener over Hempfield of District 3, 8-5.


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