SALEM — When Dana Boyle took over the Western Albemarle girls lacrosse program three years ago, the goal was to guide the Warriors to a state championship.
Western moved one step closer to that goal this Saturday in a 15-11 loss to Dominion in the Virginia High School League Class 4 state championship game at Salem High School.
Western Albemarle led 5-3 with 14:44 left in the first half, but Dominion countered with a 7-0 run over the next 10 minutes to seize control of the game and take home the program’s first state title.
“I think looking at the beginning of the season until now and looking at the girls, you have to be proud,” Boyle said. “They’ve come a long way. It takes practice to get to the state championship game, but it also takes practice to win a state championship. So, to now have been there, we can kind of learn from this and come back next year even hungrier.”
With WAHS trailing 2-1, Mattie Shearer scored a natural hat trick and Sophie Lanahan and Reid Ferguson added goals as the Warriors built a 5-3 lead and forced Dominion to call timeout.
The Titans inserted Katherine Eberhardt into the faceoff circle and the junior excelled by winning draws to get her team the ball. Dominion took advantage of the possession, scoring seven straight goals to regain the lead.
Jamie Lee, a Villanova signee, led the charge with a pair of goals and an assist and Mya Brock added two more to give the Titans a 10-5 lead with 1:59 left in the first half.
Western Albemarle regained momentum just before halftime as senior Erica Repich scored off a feed from Libby Carbo to trim the lead to 10-6 at intermission.
The comeback continued in the second half as the Warriors scored four goals in the first 10 minutes to trim the lead to 12-10. Anna Kreienbaum scored in front off a feed from Lanahan to make it a two-goal margin.
That would be as close as Western Albemarle would get as Brock and Molly Battaglia scored back-to-back goals to stretch the lead to four and put the game out of reach.
After the loss, Boyle told her players to hold their heads high.
“I just told them to be proud of themselves,” Boyle said. “We’ve had some ups and downs throughout the season and they’ve done a pretty good job of weathering that storm and I think that’s a testament to their fight, hard work, skill and also our senior leadership.”
With just four seniors departing, the bulk of the Warriors’ roster is set to return next season.
Boyle, who started when members of the current senior class were sophomores, will have fond memories of the group.
“I was just telling them in the huddle, we had fun this year,” Boyle said. “They gelled off the field and, on the field, and they’re just a really good group of kids.”