TENNERTON – Any loss denying a team a chance to play for a state championship is especially difficult, but this one really hurt for head coach Jamie Greene and his Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Buc lacrosse team.
The Lady Bucs had home field in the state quarterfinals and semifinal playoff games and easily dispatched of John Marshall on Tuesday in the quarterfinals by a 19-3 score.
That set up a match on Thursday with George Washington in the semifinals with a berth in the state championship on the line, but the Lady Bucs lost a heartbreaking 9-8 decision ending their successful 2021 campaign.
The Lady Bucs split two regular season matchups with George Washington but had the momentum of winning an 11-3 outing with the Patriots three weeks ago.
The denial to the state championship game was especially disappointing for the Lady Bucs coming off the cancelation of the 2020 season where the team was a favorite to win the title last year.
On Tuesday, the Lady Bucs left little doubt to the outcome of their quarterfinal match with John Marshall racing out to a 13-2 lead at the break and going on for the 19-3 win.
Miranda Greene led the offense with five goals while Emileigh Ryan had four and Kiki Arbogast and Hannah Walton three each.
The defense was led by Ryan and Walton who each collected four ground balls and Gaidan Adams, Heather Hayes, and Mashae Bowswer’s three ground balls.
Leah Crihfield made six saves in net in 50 minutes of action.
“The girls played really well after a slow start,” remarked Greene. “They turned it up after an early goal from John Marshall. Once they started playing together there was no looking back. We didn’t have a game last week, but we had a lot of practices to get ready for John Marshall.”
In the semifinal game with the Patriots, the Lady Bucs held a 6-5 lead at the intermission but couldn’t maintain that lead losing the contest by the 9-8 score with everything seemingly going in favor of the Patriots.
“The calls just didn’t go our way,” stated Greene. “George Washington was awarded 15 free penalty shots and scored on five of them. We received four for the entire game.”
The Lady Bucs also had the unfortunate luck of losing Arbogast early in the game.
“Kiki is a big part of our offense and on our draw controls and when she wasn’t able to make a return to the game, it was a big loss for us,” said Greene. “That said, Walton did a good job in the circle and freshman Heather Hayes stepped on the field for Kiki and did a great job.”
Greene paced the offense with three goals while Walton and Arbogast each had two.
“George Washington had a good game plan of taking Miranda out of the game, but she didn’t let that slow her down or the rest of the offense,” noted Greene.
The offense managed 24 shots-on-goal.
Walton led the defense with four ground balls.
Crihfield made 17 saves in net.
“It was a very heartbreaking loss for the girls,” concluded Greene. “They came out playing with a lot of heart from start to finish. I was very impressed by the fight that the girls gave. I am proud of them, not just in this game, but the entire season. We are only losing five seniors, so the team is already looking forward to next year. I am sure the girls can’t wait to get right back to playing and making another run at the state title.”
The Lady Bucs ended their year with a 13-4 record.
John Marshall 2 1 – 3
Buckhannon-Upshur 13 6 – 19
Buckhannon-Upshur goals – Miranda Greene 5, Emileigh Ryan 4, Kiki Arbogast 3, Hannah Walton 3, Kaylee O’Connor 2, Kendall Defibaugh 1, Reese Hutson 1. Totals 19.
Buckhannon-Upshur saves – Leah Crihfield 6.
George Washington 5 4 – 9
Buckhannon-Upshur 6 2 – 8
Buckhannon-Upshur goals – Miranda Greene 3, Hannah Walton 2, Kiki Arbogast 2, Kendall Defibaugh 1. Totals 8.
Buckhannon-Upshur saves – Leah Crihfield 17.