CARY, NC – Cardinal Gibbons’ quick strike ability was on full display as the Crusaders mounted a four-goal comeback to knock out a tough challenge from Charlotte Catholic and win the program’s fifth State Championship in six years.
Gracie Mullahy led the way for the Crusaders with three goals and a pair of assists, battling for five groundballs as well on her way to being selected as the Women’s Championship’s Most Valuable Player. The Crusaders also got three goals from Charlotte Jackson in the 13-9 victory.
Gibbons got the opening two goals of the game, breaking the ice just 50 seconds into the game with Sydney Calabrese’s unassisted marker. Just 3:15 later, Gracie Mullahy found her sister, Lexi Mullahy, for a quick dump in and the Crusaders had a two-goal margin.
Charlotte Catholic got up off the mat quickly, answering the pair of goals just 57 seconds later when Kate Draddy scored on a free position shot to cut the lead to 2-1. The Cougars ripped off the next five goals in just over four minutes to take a 6-2 lead. The Cougars and Crusaders looked to be settling into a bit of a defensive struggle for the next seven minutes, but the Crusaders answered the bell scoring three goals in just 1:11 as Calabrese, Jackson, and Gracie Mullahy all found the back of the net in short order to bring Gibbons within one at 6-5.
Georgia Sobocinski tied the match at 6-6 at the 3:52 mark of the first half off a feed from Calabrese. The two teams traded goals in the closing minutes of the half to go to the intermission tied at 7. However, much like the first half, Gibbons opened the second with two straight goals to grab a 9-7 lead thanks to unassisted markers from Isabelle Hammond and Jackson. Charlotte Catholic again found an answer as Molly Baumgratz and Kate Draddy chipped in unassisted goals of their own to level the game 9-9 with just 12:37 to go.
That was as close as the Cougars would come to taking the lead back because the next goal came from Jackson on a beautiful pass from Sobocinski, giving Gibbons a 10-9 lead with 10:26 to go, and the Crusaders did not look back, holding the Cougars scoreless for the final 12:37 of the contest and holding on for a 13-9 win.
Charlotte Catholic finished the season 21-4. The Cougars won the Western Regional Championship for the third time in the last four full seasons and the seventh time all-time.
Cardinal Gibbons season concluded with a 19-2 record overall. The Crusaders won their NCHSAA record fifth Women’s Lacrosse State Championship and appeared in the State Championship Game for the sixth time all-time. The Crusaders have now captured five of the last six Women’s Lacrosse State Championships.
The NCHSAA is committed to recognizing and promoting good sportsmanship and has partnered with the NC Farm Bureau to honor two student-athletes at each of this year’s championships with Sportsmanship Awards for excellence throughout the season. The Women’s Lacrosse Sportsmanship Award winners were Georgia Sobocinski from Cardinal Gibbons and Elle Hessert from Charlotte Catholic.