On a cold night with wind gusts and sideways rain, Caroline Wakefield and Reagan Newell put the Centreville girls’ lacrosse team on their backs in an effort to knock off Westfield, one of the top teams in the region.
Newell’s goal with 5:37 remaining in the contest tied the score at 14-all. It was Newell’s sixth goal of the night, while Wakefield accounted for the other eight.
Westfield standout Molly O’Sullivan responded less than a minute later, however, leaving Wakefield, Newell and the Wildcats with a moral victory.
O’Sullivan scored the go-ahead goal with 4:48 remaining and added another less than a minute later, giving Westfield a 16-14 victory on April 29 at Centreville High School.
Westfield improved to 11-1, with its lone defeat coming against defending state champion Madison; a 16-15 loss on April 16.
Centreville (5-4) pushed Westfield, tying the score twice in the second half. The Wildcats couldn’t get over the hump, however, and O’Sullivan sealed the win.
“Their team is so good, so it’s pretty hard to keep up with them,” Wakefield said. “We did pretty well today.”
While it’s difficult to stay with Westfield, Wakefield and Newell gave it their best shot. Wakefield, a junior who is committed to the University of North Carolina, netted three straight goals to tie the score at 10 with 18:37 remaining in the second half. After Westfield took a 14-12 lead, Wakefield and Newell each scored to tie the game with 5:37 remaining.
Newell, a junior, is committed to James Madison University.
“Their team is so good, so it’s pretty hard to keep up with them. We did pretty well today.”
--- Centreville junior Caroline Wakefield
“They always put forth a huge effort every single game ... and I think that’s what makes them stand out,” Centreville head coach Christina Griel said. “They find each other on the field, they’ve been playing together a long time, they have a lot of trust and confidence in each other and that’s what we see every single day.”
Westfield head coach Katie Ruch praised the Centreville duo.
“We’re aware of how talented they are and so we were trying to adjust to them, because they were they only two who scored for them,” she said. “They’re both very talented and if we play them again, we’ll need to revisit how we are going to try to shut them down.”
Fortunately for Ruch, the Bulldogs have their own talented players. O’Sullivan, a senior who will play at Navy, finished with six goals. Senior Meghan Heick, who will play at the University of Virginia, also scored six goals.
“Meghan is so fast,” Ruch said. “Any time she gets the ball, it is so hard to stop her. She has excellent placement on her shots. Molly is also a very smart attacker and knows how to finish. When she’s double-teamed, triple-teamed, getting hit in the head, she knows how to place the ball and to work hard to receive the ball in order to put herself in that position.”
Westfield will conclude the regular season with home games against Chantilly (May 6) and Yorktown (May 12). The Bulldogs have their sights set making a deep postseason run.
“Overall, we want to end on a win for the year,” Ruch said. “A lot of these girls won the state championship for field hockey, so they’re not used to losing. They know how to win in the postseason and hopefully we’ll be able to pull on their expertise and experience in order to end that way.”
Did playing undefeated Madison tough affect the way Ruch looks at a potential postseason matchup?
“They’re catchable,” she said. “They’re a very talented team, but a lot of people place them well above everyone else. They’re definitely catchable and we can compete with them.”
Centreville will travel to face Herndon on May 6 and host Robinson on May 12.
“I’m very proud of what they came out here and did,” Griel said. “I think they really proved themselves. That’s a great team that they came up against. I have a lot of respect for their coach and what they do. I feel very confident that we’ll see them again, so I feel confident going into it next time.”