Just a month ago, the notion that the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team would earn its first state Class C championship appeared absurd, with two key starters, Taylor Gait and Natasha Grant, sidelined for the season.
Yet on Saturday afternoon at SUNY-Cortland, with Gait and Grant offering loud cheers from the sidelines, the Brothers made it all the way to the top, coming from behind to edge Mount Sinai 9-8 in the state Class C title game.
So nearly a quarter-century after CBA went coed, the school had its first girls state championship in any team sport, earned despite the injuries to Gait and Grant and the need for coach Doug Sedgwick to shift his lineup around.
It figured that the state final mirrored what CBA had to overcome just to reach this point. When Mount Sinai's Rachel Dillon landed her fourth goal with 11:17 left, the Brothers trailed, 8-6.
But from that point forward CBA's revamped defense, led by goalie Courtney Henderson (who made the All-Tournament team), shut out Mount Sinai, meaning there was plenty of time for a rally.
Just 42 seconds after Dillon's tally, Caroline Webster cut it to 8-7. Sophie Racciatti won the ensuing draw, and CBA worked it around until Michelle Wiese, on a pass from Marisa Romeo, hit on the tying goal with 8:41 left.
After Henderson made a key stop on DIllon, CBA again got the ball back, wound the clock down and, with 57 seconds to play in regulation, Racciatti flung home the go-ahead goal, her only tally of the game.
Mount Sinai still could force overtime, and won the draw after Racciatti's goal. However, defender Ellie Kelly stepped in front of Dillon to force a player control foul with 16.6 seconds left, and CBA ran off the rest of the clock.