BY GENE NARDI
The Wellington High School girls lacrosse team traveled to district playoff host Park Vista High School and faced the Cobras in the final match on Thursday, April 7. The Lady Wolverines (10-5) were able to avenge an early-season loss against their district foe by winning the contest 8-7 to claim the district title.
It was two years ago that Wellington last won the district, so the victory puts the Wolverines back as a force to be reckoned with on the lacrosse field.
Early on, it did not look good for the Wolverines, as the team quickly found itself down by three goals only 10 minutes into the game. Wellington weathered the early storm and then orchestrated an offensive attack that drove in four unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead.
Summer Ryder was the conduit that sparked the Wolverine rally when she drove in the first goal. Monica Schell dropped in back-to-back goals, and then Ashley Goldman fired in the goal that pushed Wellington ahead late in the first half.
“I was really nervous, but I knew we would come back and play to our potential,” second-year Wellington coach Kristina Kolshak said. “I just told them to play their game and play hard.”
Park Vista managed to tie the game 4-4 with three minutes remaining in the first half, but Ana Stowell would not settle for closing out the half deadlocked. She found the back of the net to give Wellington a 5-4 advantage going into halftime.
The Wolverines experienced a bit of déjà vu as the Cobras scored two quick goals to start the second half, and Wellington, again, found itself trailing, this time by 6-5. The Wolverines did create opportunity but could not find the accuracy to hit the back of the net, until Goldman sliced one in midway through the second half to tie the game 6-6. “We tried to keep the same pace the whole game,” Kolshak said.
The game was not tied for long. The Cobras grabbed the lead once again with a goal to go up 7-6 with 10 minutes remaining. Wellington was watching its district title hopes slip through the team’s grasp as the clock ticked down to the two-minute mark. Park Vista kept peppering the Wolverine goal, but goalie Kaylee Wesolowski denied several Cobra opportunities.
Jenna Niedzwiedzki responded to the desperation call to action by striking the back of the net twice inside of 20 seconds for the Wolverines to give them an 8-7 lead with 1:27 left to play.
From there it was the Wellington defense that threw up an iron curtain, blocking Park Vista’s chance to tie the game. The Wolverines ran out the clock after winning possession back with seconds remaining to solidify the district championship win.
Wesolowski came up big through the night for the Wolverines, which made the difference. “If we didn’t have Kaylee, it may have been a different game,” Kolshak said.
Schell, Goldman and Niedzwiedzki all had two goals each for the Wolverines.
Wellington hosted American Heritage Delray in the first round of regional play, but results were not available by press time.
ABOVE: The Wellington High School girls lacrosse team won the district championship.