(Cover photo: Louisville Collegiate’s Elle Summerfield goes for the shot to send the game into overtime versus Sacred Heart in the state semifinals. Credit: Jason Ence)
Louisville Collegiate pulled off a stunning, come-from-behind upset to defeat Sacred Heart Academy in double overtime of the Kentucky Scholastic Lacrosse League state semifinals. Collegiate scored four goals in the final four minutes of regulation, before a goal from Elle Summerfield in the second extra session sent them to the state finals.
Collegiate’s furious rally was capped by a goal from an open possession with 1.5 seconds left, as Kate Severton fired a shot past Sacred Heart goalie Mary Rose Hitt at the buzzer, although it was unclear if the shot was taken in time.
After a scoreless first overtime, Collegiate would win after a turnover in the Sacred Heart defensive zone led to a free pickup for Summerfield. She scooped it up and fired it on target, evading Hitt and sending Collegiate into the state lacrosse finals.
“I was really nervous. I don’t even know what I was thinking,” Summerfield said after the match, still in a state of shock at what she had just done. “I just picked it up trying to get the ground ball, and (Elizabeth) Orr was screaming at me to shoot, so I just shot it as hard as I could without even thinking, and it went in.”
For Severton, whose goal was the third goal in the final seventy-five seconds of the game, it was a surreal experience. “There was only 1.5 seconds left, so I had to shoot it really fast,” Severton said. “I didn’t really have time to think about anything.”
The match started off as well as Sacred Heart could hope for. The Valkyries held possession of the ball for nearly the entire opening thirteen minutes of play. The opening goal came from Abby Thompson just two minutes in, as Sacred Heart scored on their first shot of the match.
Thirty seconds later, Thompson took a pass from Lisa Niblock, making two goals Sacred Heart goals in two shots.
Collegiate would finally get the ball for the first time after the third faceoff, but only held it for about thirty seconds before once again conceding to Sacred Heart. They were content to keep the ball, taking very few shots and just working the ball around.
Finally, Collegiate would enjoy a spell of possession, and they halved the deficit after Claire Foley scored following a run through the box with 9:45 left in the half. Then a great pass from Elizabeth Stites into the crease found Juels White, who fired home from point-blank to tie the game with 5:39 left in the half.
Five minutes into the second half, Mary Katherine Hardy made it a three-goal lead for the Valkyries again when she took a great pass from Sydney Wood and fired it in from about eight yards.
Winding down the second half with 7:23 remaining, Anna Laveck scored her second to pull Sacred Heart ahead 7-4 off of a free position attempt. And by the time Ella Carlon found herself wide open two minutes later to increase the lead 8-4, it looked as if the game was over.
However, Collegiate refused to give up – and it led to the amazing finish.
Collegiate continued to pour on the pressure, and they would get a goal from Kate Severton with four minutes to go, cutting the deficit to 8-5. The sixth goal came with 1:15 left. Then, less than twenty seconds later, Foley scored again, getting a great pass from Orr to cut it to one.
With 1.7 seconds left, Severton got a free position shot, and at the buzzer, she buried it to tie it at 8-8 and force overtime.
The first overtime saw little action. Sacred Heart had a chance to score at the buzzer, but a great save by Sarah Hall kept it tied, and it went to double overtime.
Summerfield scored after a horrible turnover in the crease. She scooped it up and fired past Mose for the win. Summerfield was carried off the field by her teammates and the student body, as they rushed the field after the goal.
For Collegiate head coach Kyle Straton, it was a finish that he was very proud of.
“I can’t explain the excitement I have right now,” he said. “I’m so proud of them. We called that timeout down by four, and we cleaned it up and worked on the little things.”
He went on to say that his players “did the work” and mounted a furious comeback, and it was big for the school.
“We have been in a little bit of a drought in terms of sports and state championships, so this is great for our community and our students. It’s been a great vibe in the last week or so, and it’s huge for our school.”
On the other side, coach Emily Ryan was heartbroken. She was very proud of her team’s effort, however.
“I know how much time and effort and sweat and tears they put into this season, and they left it all on the field,” she said. “I told them that the ball could have bounced a few inches here or there and the result could have been different.”
Ryan also said that Collegiate was dominant down the stretch in the draws, and they failed to capitalize on some of their earlier scoring chances they had, while they made too many mistakes at the other end. However, she reiterated that she could not have been more proud of her seniors.
“I feel that they deserve to be playing in the final game. It’s hard. They have made this team a family. It breaks my heart to know that they don’t have a chance to win a state championship this year.”
Louisville Collegiate will face Kentucky Country Day in the championship game on May 25 at 7pm at KCD.