MEDINA — For most athletes, a trip to the state tournament is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It’s just another day at the office for a Medina lacrosse player.
The Bees got a hat trick from Sierra Thomas in an 11-6 win over Olentangy Liberty on Thursday in the Ohio Schoolgirl Lacrosse Association Division I regional finals at Kenneth Dukes Stadium.
Medina, the No. 1 ranked team in Ohio, is focused on its quest for a fourth consecutive state championship, so there was no celebration for the regional title.
“It’s exciting to win this game, but deep down inside we knew we’d be here again,” coach Amanda Wilson said. “I feel like a little bit of that excitement is lost because we know this is where we want to be. The girls are excited beyond belief to win this game, but at the same time there is a sense of, ‘Let’s get back to work and get ready because there are bigger goals we want to accomplish.”’
The Bees (14-0-2) will play Mason or Cincinnati Sycamore a week from today at New Albany High in a state semifinal contest.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first minute, Medina scored three goals in a 90-second span and never looked back.
Cassie Hudson-Heck, Mackenzie Hitchcock and Thomas each scored twice as the Bees built a 7-4 halftime lead. Thomas wasn’t done, though. She completed the hat trick with 13:44 left in the game to put her team up 9-6.
“It feels awesome to be going back to state for the fourth time in a row,” said Thomas, one of six Medina seniors. “But it is also a little bittersweet because you know you have to win because it’s your final chance. But I feel like this is one of the best teams Medina has ever had, so we are really confident.”
The second half turned sloppy, as a blustery wind and driving rain made every pass and groundball an adventure. As the clock ran down, Medina was able to settle into its patented stall for most of the final 6 minutes.
“The weather was terrible. Our hands were soaking wet. We were freezing cold,” senior Erin Stacho said. “It was hard to keep control of your stick, and that caused both teams to commit a lot of turnovers.”
The weather didn’t stop Stacho from scoring twice in the second half. Her first goal came after she received a pass on the goal line extended and raced to the front of the goal circle to shoot it home with 20:33 remaining.
Goalkeeper Amanda Getto made seven saves with help from a defense that held the Patriots to a 20 percent success rate on 8-meter free possession.
Liberty (11-6) was paced by Dani Bursinger and Eileen Barrett with two goals each. It was the second year in a row Medina knocked off the Patriots in the regional finals.
“This year feels better than the other years,” Stacho said. “It’s time to go back and finish what we started.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.