For seven Pine Creek seniors, Friday’s playoff win against Kent Denver was four years in the making.
But coach Roger Wallace had to wait a bit longer to see the Pine Creek girls’ lacrosse program earn its first playoff win.
Twenty-one years, to be exact.
“This is awesome,” Wallace said, getting choked up as he watched his players celebrate around him. “This is something we’ve been working for a long time. This is a very talented young group of ladies.”
Wallace, who has been with the program since day one, will retire at the end of the season. He said the feeling of knowing he has at least one more game to coach is indescribable.
“We spent so many days trying to get to this moment right here, and I appreciate every minute of it,” Wallace said. “I appreciate all of these young ladies and the things that they’ve done, what the parents have done, what the school has done. It’s a total blessing in regards to where we are at. I’m at a loss for words.”
Senior Brittney White, however, found the words easily.
“This is just crazy because it has been four years in the making and it just feels amazing,” White said. “We made history, and for Wally who is in his 21st season and we finally, finally won a playoff game, it feels unbelievable.”
Midway through the first half host Pine Creek scored five unanswered goals to rack up a six-point lead, but Kent Denver battled back, holding the Eagles in the final 10 minutes of the half and scoring four to head into the break with a manageable two-goal deficit.
After the break, though, Pine Creek took control — literally.
White won three straight draws, all resulting in a goal to give the Eagles a cushion in the first four minutes of play in the second half.
“Having possession of the ball in girls’ lacrosse is what it’s all about,” said Nate White, the team’s other head coach. “We like to get that first possession and control the pace of the game.”
Pine Creek eventually racked up a 15-7 lead, but after being handed two yellow cards, the Eagles were short-handed, giving the Sun Devils time to get a few back. Kent Denver scored four unanswered in the last five minutes, but ran out of time to complete the comeback in the 15-12 game.
“We let them get a few late ones that's probably just from some nerves and a little excitement coming down the stretch in the first playoff win so hopefully this got those nerves out of our system and we can look forward to the quarterfinals now,” White said.
Sophomore goalie Amelia Carlile had a save and evaded defenders around the cage to work the clock down to the final second.
The horn sounded and the Eagles rushed the field.
“Something that we’ve had going these past few games is ‘Believe we can,’ and that has been something that has really helped the team,” Brittney White said. “We need to believe in ourselves because we are a great team and we are great players, and when we work together we believe we can win.”
Not only did the win mark the program’s first playoff victory, but also the 15th straight win for Pine Creek.
“Three more to go,” Nate White said.