After dropping two matches to fellow Channel League member, Dos Pueblos, earlier in the season, the Cate School girls lacrosse team broke through for a 6-3 victory at San Marcos High to capture the L.A. Lacrosse Foundation Division II Championship on May 10. Led by the strong overall play of Maddie Erickson, Lilly Rhiel and Piper Brooks, and a smothering defense backed by goalie Liza Borghesani, the Rams tied 1-1 at halftime, scored five goals in the second half, and ran away with the win. Cate finishes their improbable run to the title at 9-7 overall. 

Cate got on the board first, as Brooks found Rhiel who swept in for the goal and a 1-0 lead, just a little over two minutes into the game. But the Chargers took little time evening the score. Brooke Essig took advantage of a penalty to make it, 1-1, with 18:22 left in the first half. With under 12 minutes remaining, Essig looked to give Dos Pueblos the lead but this time her shot was snagged out of the air by Borghesani. Later, Erickson delivered a deft pass to Kenzie Davidson, but Davidson’s attempt was denied by Chargers goalie Annette Bennett and the match remained deadlocked with a little over 10 minutes left. 

Both goalies performed admirably; neither team was able to get the ball

back into the net as the half wound down. “We kept talking about how smart our team defense is and that our goalie will stop all the shots she can read,” said Cate coach Renee Mack. “So, if we can keep DP from turning our defense, and we

can keep them channeled, then we’ll give all the shots to Liza (Borghesani),” explained Mack. 

Cate received a big scare when Erickson tumbled down to the field after taking a shot to the stomach and had to be helped to the sidelines. The Rams had another close call with three minutes left. Coraline Crannell connected with Olivia Geyling but Geyling’s shot was once again saved by Borghesani, and both teams left the field tied at halftime, 1-1. “They (Cate’s defense) were talking well, they were positive,” said Mack, confirming the strong play of Lily Zanze who was a stalwart on the back line. 

The Rams came out with a lot of energy to begin the second half, buzzing around the Chargers’ net to open play. They took the lead on a goal by Davidson less than three minutes in, making it 2-1. The speedy Erickson gave Dos Pueblos all sorts of problems, as less than two minutes later, she tallied another goal. 

At the 18:39 mark, Erickson flipped another past the goalie to give Cate a 4-1 lead. Following a Chargers timeout, Erickson buried another one into the back of the net for a 5-1 lead. “This was my last game and all of the seniors’ last games. We were just trying to have the best 25 minutes of our careers, I guess,” said Erickson of the team’s second half eruption. “Our seniors just stepped up today,” explained Mack, who also pointed out the strong play of one senior Andreah Graf. 

Erickson added another bringing the Rams to 5. Rhiel’s second goal of the game increased the lead to 6-1 with 4:05 left. Essig net two more goals before the night was through, but it was too little, too late for the Chargers, as the Rams took home the crown.

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