Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lancers Persevere to Win Title

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lancers Persevere to Win Title

Article excerpt

WAYNE -- Annie Yost bounced around the turf of Wayne Hills, each hug producing more tears than the last.

The Passaic County girls lacrosse trophy, at last, was coming back to Lakeland following the Lancers' gritty 8-7 victory over the Patriots on Saturday after two years of heartache in the title game.

And Yost, the program's all-time leading scorer, couldn't contain her wide range of emotions any longer.

"It's all just coming out now," said Yost, eye black streaming down her face. "Nervousness. Happiness. Anger. Exhaustion. This game had everything."

It didn't come easy for the top-seeded Lancers, serving as the home team and favorite yet playing on upset-minded and two-time defending champion Wayne Hills' home turf. The adversity didn't end there either.

Lakeland had three goals come off the board Saturday. It took three yellow cards in a nerve-filled first half. It was called for one illegal stick.

But Lakeland withstood it all, showing championship fortitude and poise down the stretch to claim its second title in program history and first since 2013.

"I told them, 'Sometimes things don't always go your way, but focus on what you can do and what your game is,' " seventh-year Lakeland coach Erin Murphy said moments after receiving a celebratory water-cooler shower.

"We couldn't let anything else come into play. The fans. The crowd. Nothing. They had to get themselves focused. ... Sometimes when you want something so bad, you get a little nervous doing it. But nothing was going to keep them down."

Wayne Hills showed early that Saturday would be nothing like the two teams' regular-season meeting, won by Lakeland, 19-9, on May 6. The Patriots jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead behind goals from Danielle McCall and Kristen Russo.

But the Lancers found their focus midway through the first half, going on a momentum-swinging, 4-0 run -- behind two goals from Yost and one apiece from Maddie Burgner and Aiden Darcy -- before the break. …

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