In a remarkable final game to end their triumphant season, the Western Albemarle girls lacrosse program claimed their first state championship since 2010 with a 14-11 victory against the Dominion Titans June 10. Last year the Warriors lost the state championship to Dominion in a tight 8-2 game, but this season they departed the field victorious.
Maggie Craytor was integral to the team’s championship success, scoring six goals for the Warriors, four in the first twenty minutes. McLean Stokes scored back-to-back goals in the first half, which caused the Titans to call a timeout. The Warriors started the second half strong, with Taylor Florin making two goals immediately after halftime, and Annie Alhusen scoring another with twenty minutes left in the second half. Katie Alhusen closed out the game with two goals to cement the victory.
Throughout the season, the Warriors’ defense was fundamental in maintaining the team’s undefeated streak. Headed by Julianna Murphy, the defensive unit was nothing short of remarkable, consistently challenging Dominion’s strong offense, which averaged 18 goals a game going into the championship.
“The team played its best lacrosse in the postseason and that is because they really improved in different areas of the game as the season progressed,” said head coach Peggy Williams. “They were able to adapt in different situations and believe in each other, which is what led them to a victory. It was a remarkable feeling to bring back another championship to Western.”
Williams has years of experience as both a player and coach and demonstrated tremendous leadership and drive in her first year with the Western Albemarle girls program, joined by assistant coach Jordan Dudley. Williams was named VSHL’s 2023 Coach of the Year after leading the Warriors to their first undefeated season and a state title.
“It was an honor to win coach of the year and it is great recognition for our entire staff. Assistant coach Jordan Dudley and I worked really well together,” Williams said of the accomplishment. “We have a positive coaching style which is centered on teaching, and we strive to bring out the best in each player. This combined with excellent leadership on the team and hard-working and dedicated players led to a lot of success this year.”