Redemption was the buzzword on this day.
Samantha Carlson scored the game winner and Skylar Baun was named playoff MVP as St. Mary’s knocked off Nichols, 3-0, in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association Division A championship game at the Demske Sports Complex at Canisius College.
The Lancers now advance to next weekend’s CHSAA tourney where they will face the winner of the Rockville Centre diocese in the semifinals in New York City on Nov. 9.
It was a sweet measure of revenge for St. Mary’s, which lost to Nichols in last year’s title game.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” St. Mary’s coach Brittany Heist said.
“Everybody remembered last year. Everybody was more hungry this year and it was a fantastic feeling to go up 3-0 at halftime and know we were one half away from becoming Monsignor Martin (playoff) champions.”
That championship was not as easy to attain as the score might suggest.
The Vikings dictated the pace of play for the first 20 minutes of the game.
But the Lancers felt confident that if they could weather that initial storm they would be able to take control of the game when scoring opportunities were there.
“It was just amazing,” said Baun, whose goal put the Lancers up, 2-0. “We all came together this year and worked extra hard. It’s just so amazing to win.”
While the St. Mary’s offense did it’s job when called upon no doubt the hero of the day was Lancers goalkeeper Carly Howard, who stopped a breakaway less than two minutes after Baun’s tally to preserve the two- goal lead.
“She was an animal today,” Heist said. “I think her confidence exuded out and spilled over onto our team which helped our backline feel even more secure and good about what we were up against.”
Ironically that was Nichols’ only shot of the first half as the Lancers outshot them 7-1, and 8-5 for the game.
Carlson, playing in just her fourth game back after an ACL injury, said getting the game-winner 13 minutes into the game was the best part of this feel good season.
“As a senior it just meant so much to me,” Carlson said. “I’m just thankful that I was able to play this season. I’m extremely blessed.”
Mya Moore capped off the scoring for St. Mary’s. Shae O’Rourke was named the A Division’s Player of the Year.
It was a case of a big game player stepping up in a big game situation as playoff MVP Morgan Applegate notched the hat trick as Cardinal O’Hara topped Mount Mercy, 3-1.
“It’s every exciting,” Hawks coach Stephanie Allaire said. “The girls worked very hard for it and I’m very proud of them.”
It was redemption for the Hawks, who lost last year’s title game to Buffalo Seminary in penalty kicks after a double overtime did not produce a winner.
“Especially for the seniors,” Applegate said. “I think it was good to come back and redeem ourselves one last time.”
The Magic struck first when Mya Wood gave her team the 1-0 lead. Applegate tied the game with 13:29 to play in the half.
Applegate would net the game winner at the 52-minute mark, with the insurance goal coming on a PK eight minutes later.
“She’s a key player on our team,” Allaire said. “She stepped up when we needed her to.”