The Salem High girls saw their dreams of a state Group 1A-4A lacrosse championship come to an end Tuesday with a loss in the tournament semifinal. The Spartans were defeated by George Mason, 17-8, on Salem’s Spartan Field.
The game was close early, as Salem freshman Madi Caldwell matched three Mustang goals for a 3-3 tie. However, George Mason ripped off four unanswered goals to open a lead and went into halftime up 9-4.
Any chance Salem had of a comeback was thwarted early in the second half, as the Mustangs kept the heat on the Salem defense, opening the lead to 10 goals. Salem got two goals each from Lilly Blair and Libby Bowman in the second half but the Spartans never threatened to get back in the game.
With the loss Salem finished the season at 16-4. They also hold claim to the title of South Region champions after edging Monticello, 7-6, in the championship game at Spartan Field last Friday.
Scoring was led by Caldwell with two goals and an assist and Blair with two goals. Goalie Maddie Bowman and the Salem defense held Monticello’s Arizona State University bound center to only two goals. No one held her to under three all season to that point.
“The defense did a fantastic job of holding a really strong Monticello team that took 21 shots and only connected on six,” said Salem coach Maggi Pace. “They have grown each game.
“We controlled nine of 15 draw controls between Libby, Lilly, and Alla(Daniel). The girls forced 12 turnovers, which in the end was a difference maker.”
This is Salem’s first Region Final win and resulted in the Spartans’ first opportunity to host the state semis at home. Unfortunately for the Spartans, George Mason just had too much firepower for the Spartans on Tuesday.
With the win, Mason will meet the winner of a semifinal game between Monticello and Riverside that was also played Tuesday. Results were too late for publication, but the winner advances to Saturday’s championship game at 10 am at Spartan Field.