Melissa Moran is no fortune teller but she envisioned a bright future for the Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse program. She even saw the 2022 WPIAL championship coming.

“I’ve known the talent we had coming up because I used to coach these girls in youth,” Moran said. “I knew this was a possibility if we put our minds to it.”

After suffering lopsided losses to Blackhawk and Mars during the regular season, the Lady Colts resolved to avenge those defeats once they qualified for the WPIAL playoffs.

After upsetting No. 4 Indiana, 17-5, CV toppled No. 1 seed Blackhawk, 20-9, in a semifinal game played May 23 at Moon. In the win against the Cougars, freshmen Juliana Betts scored eight goals while Ava Warzinski supplied three goals and two assists.

The Cougars had also ended CV’s bid for a championship in 2021. The Colts lost to Blackhawk, 13-12, in that quarterfinal match.

On May 25, the Lady Colts won its first WPIAL title when they took down Mars, 17-6, in the Class 2A final played at Robert Morris University’s Joe Walton Stadium.

“Our mental toughness and focus all-around,” Moran said was the difference between the earlier outings and final competitions. “Our discipline has increased way more and our nerves as far as playing the top teams started to melt away.”

A win against Upper St. Clair, which reached the WPIAL semifinals in Class AAA, “boosted” CV’s confidence. The 16-13 triumph occurred during a nine-game winning streak for the Colts.

“We knew we could hang with the big dogs,” Moran said.

Because of Betts, Josie Jones and Kaitlyn Kuczinski, the Lady Colts are top dogs in Class 2A.

Betts fired in seven goals. She also dished out three assists in the win against Mars.

“(Betts) is an outstanding freshman but she does not play like one,” Moran said. “She looks like she has been out with the seniors for four years. She absolutely is a huge factor for us on possession off the draw and she finds a way to get open. She was face guarded but she still made plays.”

A two-year captain, Jones contributed two goals and four assists to CV’s offensive output. She is one goal away from 100 in her career.

Jones started the game on defense because Moran said she wanted to get “some extra bodies” down there.

“Josie’s been great,” Moran said. “She has absolutely been implemented in getting people open all season. She is so unselfish.”

Kuczinksi has been instrumental in “locking down” the defense. The CV net minder recorded six saves in the game. She has made more than 100 saves this season.

“She has been unreal,” Moran said. “She is the anchor of our defense. She’s been a true leader and she’s only a freshman.”

Goals by Betts (4), Jones (2), Sage Gojsovich, Caleigh Bogats, Ava Warzinski and Tatiana Adrima, CV bolted to a 10-3 halftime lead but the Planets put the scare in the Colts by scoring the first two goals in the opening minutes of the second half.

“That’s concerning when they only had three in the first half,” said Moran. “I told the girls that anything can happen and there is a lot of time. Once we settled our nerves we locked it down.”

So did the offense. Again Betts registered a hat trick in the second half while Malllorie LaGamba, Warzinski, Helene Cowan and Megan Witte registered second-half goals to force a running clock in the final three minutes of action.

In the game, Warzinski (2), Bogats and Sage Gojsovich collected assists to go along with the dish offs by Jones and Betts.

“Once we settle our nerves, we get comfortable in moving the ball and finding the back of the net,” Moran said.

The Colts embark on PIAA tournament action May 31.

Moran will provide even more wisdom for her charges as the Syracuse native played on a state championship club.

“I was fortunate enough to win one in high school so I’m familiar with a state championship,” she said. “I would like to get these girls familiar with it too. If we play our game and continue doing what we have been doing, we’ll do OK.”

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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