By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
There was time left to score one more goal to tie things up.
With 1:30 left on the clock in the second half, Fairmont Senior’s girls’ lacrosse team trailing University, 7-6, coach Jon Cain called a timeout.
His girls came out of the timeout with time to spare but wanted to push things. With one final shot in mind, a Polar Bear player hurled the ball toward the net.
It fell short, and so, too, did the Polar Bears’ chances of claiming another state title bid, losing to University by a final of 7-6 to end their season.
During the timeout, Cain told his players to take their time but to shoot with enough time left on the clock so they could try it again if they missed. They followed that plan but were unable to get the ball back in the game’s final seconds.
“It just didn’t work out that way,” Cain said. “We held on to it just a little longer than we wanted, and we were yelling to get your shots. We had some open shots today that we missed.”
The final 1:30 summed up the previous 28:30 of the game, a hard-fought battle between two of the state’s top programs.
After University scored the game’s opening two goals, Fairmont Senior scored three unanswered, getting two from sophomore Claire Craig.
“One of our sophomores who you don’t expect to give you goals gives us two goals today,” Cain said of Craig. “We try to reload every year and get some of our young girls in when we can. We know they’re the future.”
From an onlooker’s standpoint, one could see that the Hawks were doing their best to key on the Polar Bears’ two main scorers — Adriana Constable and Maddi Craig.
Constable scored a goal which was sandwiched between Claire Craig’s two goals after streaking down the field on her own and beating four defenders. Maddi Craig, meanwhile, would be held without a goal until the second half when the Polar Bears trailed 6-3.
But from there, University would go on to score another and lead the Polar Bears 7-4 before Maddie Stevenski and Sofia Sansalone would bring Fairmont Senior within one in the game’s final minutes.
The loss is only fuel to the fire for young players like the Craig sisters and Sansalone, Cain said.
“What I tell these girls is that we come back every year and we continue to fight,” Cain said. “I don’t see these girls being down. We’re losing two, three seniors who are impact players, and we have a good group coming back.”
After having so much success in recent years, the mindset of this year’s outgoing seniors was that they had to win. And, as one could imagine, the emotions were high after the game for players such as Constable and Stevenski, who will continue their lacrosse careers at West Virginia Wesleyan.
But while tears flowed, hugs were given by younger players to the players they had learned from all season, giving Cain comfort and confidence in his team for the future.
“They know only a couple of them are leaving, so for the girls playing behind them, that makes a big difference,” he said. “Now next year is their turn.”
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.