South River senior Brooke Griffin, right, celebrates scoring… (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene…)
When the final whistle blew in Wednesday night's Class 4A-3A East girls lacrosse regional final, South River senior Brooke Griffin dropped to the field overcome by a wave of emotion.
For the first time in her high school career -- and those of her teammates -- the No. 5 Seahawks are headed to the state tournament. After dethroning three-time defending state champion and No. 2 Severna Park on Monday, they edged No. 7 Broadneck, 13-12, in overtime to win perhaps the state's toughest region and advance to the state semifinals, where they will face Westminster at 5 p.m. Saturday at Arundel.
Griffin, an All-Metro midfielder bound for Maryland, scored seven goals, including two in overtime to lead the Seahawks (15-2) to the state tournament for the first time since 2004. They have never won a state title.
"Oh, my gosh, it feels amazing. It's just a relief to win, to beat those two teams my senior year," Griffin said. "I couldn't ask any more from my teammates. They just played with so much heart all the way down to the last second and two overtime [periods]. We just played so well together."
The game was so close it featured eight ties, including at 10, 11 and 12. Griffin's free-position goal with 8:37 left in regulation gave South River an 11-10 edge that held up until the final seconds thanks to three terrific saves by Kelsea Donnelly and some stingy Seahawks defense. But a turnover with 13 seconds left cost South River when Zoe Earnest finished off a transition goal to tie it at 11 with 2.9 seconds left.
The Bruins took the first lead in overtime when Paige Duncan scored on a feed from Courtney Tomchik midway through the first of two three-minute overtime periods that together count as one overtime.
With 28.8 seconds left in the first three minutes, Griffin took a feed from Mary Milligan and tied it for the Seahawks. After the Bruins turned over the next draw control, Griffin was fouled and slung a low free-position shot into the goal as time expired. Neither team managed a shot in the second three minutes.
"Brooke is a very skilled attacker, and we knew we had to try really hard," Bruins senior Allison Thornton said. "She's a challenge every time. We always know she's going to throw something different at us. We always have to be prepared [for] whatever that may be."
Tomchik did a good job face-guarding Griffin in the arc, but Griffin often got the ball behind the goal when Tomchik had to stay in front to defend her crease roll. If Griffin, who also had two assists, didn't finish the attack, she often started it from behind.
Milligan also had two goals and two assists for the Seahawks while Meghan Eshleman scored five times for the Bruins. Tomchick added two goals and four assists for Broadneck.
Goals: B—Eshleman 5, Tomchik 2, Thornton 2, Duncan 2, Earnest; SR—Griffin 7, M.Milligan 2, Guarino, Spalding, O.Pyne, Thompson. Assists: B—Tomchik 4; SR—Griffin 2, M.Milligan 2, Maloof 2, Thompson. Saves: B—Burns 1; SR—Donnelly 9. Half: B, 6-4. Regulation:11-11.