2023.06.02 Girls Lacrosse: Class 4 Quarterfinal, Lightridge @ Meridian

Falls Church, VA (June 2, 2023) - Back in April, the question was: why is Class 3 Meridian playing perennial powerhouse Riverside in mid-season? Well, afterthe Mustangs stormed back to narrowly lose, 14-13- there was no question about it. Classification aside, the Meridian program deserves to be considered among the best in the state. And that's why they were qualified for the Class 4 state competition.

The Mustangs' opponent in the quarterfinals was the young Lightridge Lightning. While the school has had individual excellence in other sports at the state level, this group was the first in a team-only sport to compete in a state tournament. Yes, it was great to have qualified, but they were also hoping to advance beyond the first round.

Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.

The Mustangs scored twice in the first minute of the game, and when Lila Deering got her second goal in the 6th minute it looked like the rout was on. But Lightridge fought back, and the next two goals went to the Bolts' Keira Kavulic. The light blue surge forced Meridian to call a timeout to regroup, and that may have been the most impressive moment of the day for the Lightning.

And the timeout did the trick for the Mustangs. For the next ten minutes, Meridian blitzed the Lightning defense and goalie Lucy Neff. Scoring eight goals in the run--including three from Tilly Gale and another from Deering--the Meridian offense was virtually unstoppable. The Bolts actually called two timeouts themselves during the run, but the breaks provided no relief. Lightridge's Regan Van Horn finally beat Meridian goalie Carson Funk and broke the streak, but at halftime the Mustangs led by an overwhelming 12-3.

Lightridge hoped to use the break to reorganize and get back in the game, but the Mustangs had other ideas in mind. To open the second half, Meridian's Caroline Carmody scored three in a row and ignited another big Mustang push, this time six straight goals with two more coming from Deering. With ten minutes remaining in the game, the margin was an insurmountable, 18-3.

Lightridge had a mini-run still left in them as Avery Speier scored twice and Lily Sigler added a goal in the final minutes, closing the gap to 18-6, but the Mustangs added two more--including Ally Campbell's third of the match--as the final whistle blew.

It was a dominating performance by Meridian, and they advanced to the state semifinals next week. Amazingly, the Mustangs' rise may not be over even if they don't win again this year. Most of the nucleus of impressive athletes will be back again next spring including Campbell, Carmody, Deering and Gale.

There is also good news for Lightridge as their season ends here. Their core of key players will all return next year, too, so this may be only the beginning of state level rivalry.

Final Score: Meridian 20 - Lightridge 6

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