In a game not lacking in drama Danielle Lester scored with 1:01 to play to give Richmond Hill a 22-21 quarterfinal win over Pace Academy in a GHSA Class 1A-5A girls lacrosse tournament game Wednesday night at Wildcat Stadium.
The win propelled Coach Megan Mc-Donough’s team into an Elite Eight matchup with Star’s Mill to be played either Thursday or Friday at Richmond Hill at a time to be determined.
The start of the game was delayed for one hour due to a lightning storm which rolled through the area but McDonough, said it did not deter her team.
“I think their energy was so high it carried over into the delay,” McDonough said. “In the locker room they played games, talked, had fun. They were ready to go and hyped.”
This is the third year of play for girls lacrosse at Richmond Hill and the Wildcats are now 31-7 under Virginia Tech grad McDonough. Their initial season was cut short due to COVID and they lost in the first round of the playoffs last year.
“I think for a third-year program to reach the Elite Eight is pretty amazing,” McDonough said. “We’ve got some really good athletes.”
Lester, who led Richmond Hill (13-3) in scoring during the regular season with 105 points, made the winning shot sound routine.
“Allie (Washington) set a pick for me – it was the blind side for them – and I rode off to the right,” Lester said. “It (net) was wide open.”
Lester finished the game with six goals but it was Washington’s lights out play in the first half that ignited the Wildcats as she had six goals and finished with seven.
“Allie normally gets four to five goals a game,” McDonough said. “She had an incredible game for us.
McDonough also cited junior goalie Elizabeth Mehl for playing a key role in the win.
“In lacrosse it’s not the goals allowed but the saves you make that are important,” McDonough said. “She had three big saves in the second half and that was the difference. Each save gave us new energy. She’s done a great job all year.”
Washington has excelled in softball and flag football for Richmond Hill and she can now add lacrosse to her resume. As a softball player she played on four state playoff teams and her junior year the flag football team reached the Elite Eight.
“The whole thing was awesome,” Washington said. “We never got past the first round in softball so to be in the Elite Eight in lacrosse is amazing.”
Richmond Hill trailed only once in the game when Pace jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. Washington then scored three straight goals to give the Wildcats the lead.
After Pace tied it the Wildcats scored five straight goals but could not sustain the momentum as Pace fought back to tie the game, 10-10. Lester scored two straight goals to help give her team a 12-- 11 lead at the half. Richmond Hill came out on fire in the second half as it opened with five straight goals for a 17-11 bulge only to have Pace fight back to gain a 19-19 tie with 8:39 to play. With 3:21 to play Pace tied it at 21-21 to set up Lester’s heroics.