BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s girls’ varsity lacrosse team’s dream of a perfect season and a possible state championship came to an end with a 5-4 upset loss to visiting Annapolis on Wednesday night in the Class 3A-2A East Region semifinals.
Decatur came into the contest as the top seed in the region with a perfect 14-0 record after cruising through its regular season schedule on the way to another its third straight Bayside Conference championship. After earning a first-round bye, the Seahawks cruised past visiting Easton, 12-5, in the second round to reach the region semifinals for the third straight year.
Standing between Decatur and return trip to the region finals, however, was a tough Annapolis team. The Panthers came to Decatur on Wednesday night as the number-four seed in the region. Both teams played a tense first half that ended with Annapolis leading 2-1. The Panthers extended the lead to 3-1 with just over 20 minutes left in the game.
Annapolis scored on a penalty shot at the 12:02 mark in the second half and the big crowd sensed the dream season could be slipping away for the Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ goalkeeper made save after big save against Decatur as the Seahawks pressured the net in an effort to get back in the game.
The Seahawks finally broke the ice in the second half on a nice goal by Olivia Turner on an assist from LeighAnne Flounlacker to cut the lead to 4-2 with 9:48 left in the game. The big home crowd sensed the momentum start to swing and came alive. Turner scored again on a fast-break opportunity to cut the lead to 4-3 with 7:25 remaining in the contest and the crowd went wild.
Down the other end, the Decatur defense, led by goalkeeper Taylor Phillips, did their best to keep the score at 4-3 to give the offense an opportunity to tie the game. The Seahawks did just that at the 4:42 mark in the second half on a goal by Alyssa Hardesty on an unsettled situation in front of the Annapolis net. The ball appeared to hover on the goal line for a moment before trickling in for a 4-4 tie with time running down.
It wasn’t meant to be for Decatur, however. Annapolis scored the go-ahead goal late in the game to take a 5-4 lead although it wasn’t clear just how much time was left. The scoreboard clock stopped at the two minute mark. Decatur won the face-off of the game and got several good looks at the Annapolis goal as time expired. Finally, the horn sounded and Annapolis escaped with the 5-4 upset win.