The Holy Spirit High School women’s lacrosse team had already amassed a stack of accomplishments that had not been seen before in the history of the program. They carried it proudly on their shoulders over 100 miles north of Absecon at Hunterdon Central High School as the Spartans took on Princeton Day School in the non-public B State Championship on June 4.
The Holy Spirit arrived early and took a moment to breathe it all in.
“We sat in a circle and talked about how proud we got here,” said senior captain Maggie Cella. “It’s an honour. We never would have thought in a million years that we would have arrived here.
This season, Holy Spirit has won the most games in program history (16) and won its Premier League title by winning the Cape Atlantic League National Division. The Spartans hoped to add one more distinction by winning their first state crown, but were defeated by Princeton Day, 17-11, in the state championship game. The Panthers were the top seed and the favorites. The Spartans made them sweat.
“I told them to be incredibly proud of them because I’m proud of them,” Holy Spirit coach Kylie Primeau said. “As I tell everyone, dedication, hard work, commitment and determination are all things that have helped us get to where we are.”
The Spartans came out of the gate quickly, opening the scoring on a Brielle Soltys goal and taking it 2-1 on a Maddie Abbott count. But Princeton Day scored a five-goal run over the next 10 minutes to build a four-goal lead. The Spartans scored a few times, getting under three goals on five separate occasions, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
“That was our target,” said Cella, who scored twice. “We were going to play from start to finish. We knew we had to work every second and honestly I think we did our best.
The Spartans were led by a trailblazing class of 2022 who entered leadership roles a year early despite the team not having a single senior on the roster last season.
They each made their contribution. Cella and Leah Corkhill filled the scoresheet, while defenders Sophie Sobocinski and Savannah Keyser held off the other teams. Emma Watson and Madeline Price contributed to the Spartans secondary score.
“I’m just happy to have spent my last year improving the program so much and playing a leadership role,” Watson said. “It really impacted my whole experience at Holy Spirit. I’m so happy for the coming seasons that they can see how much history we’ve made this season. No one has ever gone this far in lacrosse at our school.
Watson’s sophomore sister Hanna and a talented group of young players will try to go even further.
“I told my underclassmen that we would come back,” said Primeau, who has completed her second year as coach. “Just to see where we came from and where we are now, it’s amazing. I’m already very excited for next year.