Girls Lacrosse: Cougars Come up Short in State Finals
Poor start from Oakton proves costly
The Oakton Cougars fought valiantly in Saturday night’s State Championship against the undefeated Madison Warhawks, but couldn’t defy the odds with a victory.
They stumbled out of the gates going down 5-0 in the first 7 minutes of play, and never fully recovered, losing 20-11. Juniors Carly Palmucci and Jackie Rupp played terrifically in defeat, each scoring a game-high four goals.
It looked early on as if the Warhawks were going to run away with the title, as they scored the first five goals of the game in the first seven minutes of play. But the Cougars proved they belonged with a 3-0 run of their own, started by a pair of Palmucci goals and ended with one from Rupp. Madison extended their lead to 7-3 before Rupp pulled another one back.
As time wore on, however, the Warhawks continued to put the ball in the net, while the Cougars saw many of their shots start to sail wide, get saved or hit the woodwork, as they went into the halftime break trailing 11-5
“This team [Madison] is too strong to miss chances,” head coach Jean counts said afterward. “They were able to capitalize, and we weren’t.”
Just when it looked like Madison had it all sewn up, leading 15-6 in the second half, the resilient Cougars made one final run, outscoring their opponent 4-1 to pull within six. But a pair of shots and bizarre yellow card to Rupp allowed Madison a chance to regroup, and a few late Warhawk goals sealed the fate of the Cougars. Still, head coach Jean Counts was proud of her girls’ great postseason run.
“We were on cloud nine after the last game on this field having won our semifinal match,” she said. “I just told them that they played played their hearts outs, and to walk out with their heads held high.”
As for her coaching counterpart, sister-in-law and former assistant Amanda Counts, winning her first state title as a head coach: “I am really proud of her,” Counts applauded. “It is tough to be on the other side of it, but it is always great to see someone you love succeed.”