No surprises in this one. Vero has been winning titles longer than they’ve been official state crowns. Bartram Trail was the latest victim in a streak of eight straight championships for the Fighting Indians. Bartram came into the game on an emotional high, having rallied late in the semifinals to earn the right to play Vero for the title. But Vero proved too much for them, just like they have for every other challenger in the streak.
It was a tall order for any team and BT gave it their best, but Vero is a finely tuned lacrosse machine, using a powerful attack that utilized many off-ball weak-side cuts toward the middle and the Vero feeders up front consistently hit the open player at the right time, allowing them to turn and shoot before the BT defense was able to guard the spot effectively. Statistically the game clearly showed how effective this strategy was, as very few Vero attempts came from outside of five yards. Vero was able to put an incredible 29 of 35 shot attempts on goal while limiting BT to only 9 shots on goal in 12 attempts.
BT goalie Clare DiFato did her best to stem the attack, putting up 12 saves, but the steady flow of shots were too much for anyone to handle for a whole game. In the Vero goal Allison McDonough saved 6 of the 9 shots on goal she faced to earn the win.
Vero started off quickly, scoring three times in the first five and a half minutes, with Allison Modica scoring the first off a Katy Pridemore feed on a crease feed. Modica dodged right and placed a bounce shot back across her body to the lower left corner. Abby Shields then followed up with her own low shot from the middle of the field off another Pridemore feed and Modica followed up with a similar play from Hannah Palau’s right side feed to make it 3-0.
Lauren Tybor gave BT some hope at 18:16 with a solo effort off a free position penalty start, dodging twice to the left of the defenders before placing a high shot above the goalie’s shoulders to make it 3-1. The two teams then traded possessions for the next four minutes before Vero opened up with a three goal run in 80 seconds to stretch the lead to 6-1. Megan Gorman started the run with her first off Alexis Moirano’s feed. Gorman scored after cutting down the middle as Moirano was curling around the right side of the cage and scored off the pass. Moirano then added her own goal after Hannah Pridemore fed her off a left alley dodge and Allyssa Maes scored unassisted off a direct free possession.
Bartram called time out to regroup and it allowed Tybor to get one back for BT, dodging to the middle from the right side of the goal to make it 6-2 with 12:16 left in the half. But that was as close as BT was to come as Vero pulled away with the last 5 goals of the half to go into halftime up 11-2. Katy Pridemore, Maes with her second and Meredith Baker all scored unassisted before Modica finished her hat trick from Zan Biedenharn’s feed, and Shields closed out the half from Modica’s sole assist of the game.
Vero continued to pull away in the second half as K. Pridemore scored twice, with Emily Long assisting on one of them, Ashley MacIntyre scoring from Palau’s feed, AnnElisa Bieber getting on the scoresheet from Maes, and Brianna Blum unassisted made the score 16-2 before BT’s Mary Kate Weaver ended the streak off Tybor’s left wing feed. Modica then added a late goal from Moirano to make the final 17-3.
It will be interesting to see if Bartram can make another run back to championship weekend as they lose six seniors but much of the starting lineup does return, and Tybor is only a frosh (sorry, don’t know the female version of that word, if any!) so the foundation is there for next season. As for Vero they will be a prohibitive favorite to repeat next season, until SOMEONE figures out a way to do it! Congratulations to both teams and see you next season.
All photos courtesy of J.Patrick Rice of JPRimages.com