For the second time in three games, the Mt. Lebanon girls lacrosse team surrendered a one-goal lead with less than two minutes remaining and the results were devastating.
On May 26, the Blue Devils dropped a 9-8 decision to Shady Side Academy in the WPIAL Class AAA championship match before suffering an 18-17 loss to Sewickley Academy June 5 in the PIAA quarterfinals.
Mt. Lebanon ended its season at 17-3 overall.
“They are disappointed,” said Blue Devils head coach Brian Kattan after the season-ending loss to Sewickley Academy, which Mt. Lebanon defeated 13-10 in the WPIAL semifinals. “I feel bad for the seniors. They did a great job all year and were great leaders. They had us ready to go.”
Starters Avery Tandon, Brooke Loughran and Bridget Cainhad Mt. Lebanon prepared for its rematch with Sewickley Academy along with Gia Captristo, Jeanne Houmis, Mackenzie King, Hope Husk, Genna Leibow and Sarah Taback.
The Blue Devils charged to a 10-7 halftime advantage, but with 1:11 remaining in regulation, Ellie Hughes scored the tying goal for Sewickley Academy.
Then with four seconds left, Elsa Gordon scored her fifth goal of the match, which ended up being the game-winner for the Panthers.
“(Gordon’s) a great player and Sewickley played really, really well,” Kattan said.
“We knew they had a good offensive team but they did not miss anything. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. They just made everything they shot.”
Kattan could not cite a reason, other than bad timing, for Lebo’s late defensive breakdown.
“We played our worst defensive game of the year at the worst time,” he said.
The offensive output by Gordon and her Panthers overshadowed the performances of Mt. Lebanon’s Murdoch sisters.
Addison a freshman, fired in eight goals for the Blue Devils, while Reagan, a junior, contributed five goals and three assists.
Megan Cain, another freshman, scored two goals, as Tandon and Elle Kovalan managed one each.
The Murdochs, Teagan Hoover and Addie Donalson were all named to the all-section team. Reagan Murdoch received all-WPIAL accolades.
Reagan Murdoch, who has scored 119 goals in two years, will return as Lebo’s top offensive threat. Her sophomore season was lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donalson, a junior goaltender, will also return to lead the defensive charge. Addison Murdoch and Hoover are also veterans that will return to lead Lebo’s charge next spring.
The Blue Devils are looking for their fifth WPIAL title and third PIAA semifinal appearance in 2022.
“We are fortunate to have a lot of young girls that got a lot of experience,” Kattan said. “This loss will make them better and the season they had gives them confidence going into next year. The future is definitely bright.”