Sacred Heart laughed first Tuesday night. Lily Clay Wedge helped the Valkyries laugh best, too. Tallying her only point of the night, the Sacred Heart sophomore midfielder scored with just 24 seconds left to help the Valkyries surge past the four-time defending champion Kentucky Country Day Bearcats, 13-12 in the KSLL’s late semifinal at Christian Academy-Louisville.
Sacred Heart (20-2), ranked No. 1 in the state by both LaxNumbers and MaxPreps and No. 2 by Inside Lacrosse, will play Eastern for the title at 7 p.m. Thursday at CAL. Eastern, which lost to KCD in the 2017 state final, advanced to the title match with a 12-3 win over Ballard in Tuesday’s early semifinal.
KCD (19-6), ranked No. 1 in the state by Inside Lacrosse and No. 2 by both MaxPreps and LaxNumbers.com, dug itself a three-goal hole just five minutes in and still surged to a four-goal first-half lead.
Sacred Heart had beaten KCD, 7-4 on April 14th in the championship game of Sacred Heart’s own Braveheart tournament.
The Valkyries, rated 68th nationally by the MaxPreps computer RPI, came out firing from the start. Sacred Heart won the opening draw and senior Anna Laveck converted a free-position shot just 41 seconds into the match. Sacred Heart scored twice in a 13-second span in the fifth minute as senior attacker Lilly Thornewill bounced one in before sophomore midfielder Julia Jardina scored off a pass from fellow sophomore Lily Terrell.
It took KCD, also ranked in the top 150 nationally by MaxPreps, barely three minutes to erase its deficit. Sophomore mid Mary Mason Spears scored in the sixth minute off an assist from senior captain Emily Harrison, senior mid Mary Claire Duncan followed with a goal just 63 seconds later and senior attacker Lucy Poindexter knotted things up at 3-all in the eighth minute.
The Bearcats took their first lead in the ninth minute as Duncan fed senior attacker Sophia Sparks for a goal as KCD didn’t trail the rest of the half. Goals by Poindexter (14th minute) and Spears (15th minute from Poindexter) helped KCD double up SHA with 10:32 left in the half at 6-3.
Jardina ended the Valkyries’ scoring drought with 9:48 left in the half to cut KCD’s lead to 6-4. KCD scored a pair of goals 18 seconds apart thanks to Poindexter (17th minute) and Sparks (18th minute, from Spears) to allow the Bearcats to take either team’s largest lead at that point at four goals (8-4).
Sacred Heart finished the first half like it started it — with a scoring barrage. Thornewill was involved in three goals in a 66-second span, assisting Laveck at 1:19, scoring off Laveck’s pass with 22 seconds on the clock and finding the net off a pass from Jardina to get the Valkyries within 8-7 at the half.
The Bearcats built their lead back to three goals in the first four minutes of the second half as Harrison scored in the 29th minute after assisting Duncan’s goal in the 27th minute.
Again, Jardina and Sacred Heart came charging back. Jardina scored in the 35th minute before junior mid Olivia Whitlock scored for the first time on the night in the 37th minute. Jardina scored with 8:34 left to tie the score for the first time since 3-3 and Jardina scored again 50 seconds later to give the Valkyries their first lead since the match’s opening five minutes. Poindexter tied it at 11-all with 6:18 left before Sacred Heart briefly retook the lead with 4:55 left as Whitlock fed Jardina. Spears answered with 3:49 left to knot it at 12-all.