Hobbled Kasey Behr leads St. Anthony's to sixth straight 'AA' title

St. Anthony's Kasey Behr charges upfield. (May 24, St. Anthony's Kasey Behr charges upfield. (May 24, 2013) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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There's something wrong with Kasey Behr's knee. But she doesn't know exactly what it is.

On May 8, the St. Anthony's star suffered what the trainers suspect is a hyperextended right MCL, an injury that likely would require a four-week recuperation. But Behr insisted then she could tough it out and later refused to see a doctor for an official diagnosis.

What she doesn't know can hurt, actually. But Friday night at Adelphi, ignorance was bliss.

Through the pain and uncertainty, the midfielder scored three goals and won three draw controls as top-seeded St. Anthony's beat St. John the Baptist, 16-6, to capture a sixth straight CHSAA Class AA girls lacrosse title.

"It does hurt, but it's worth it and I wanted to push myself for this team and a chance at another championship," said Behr, who has played in her team's five games since the injury. She even ditched the knee brace in this contest. "My teammates were so pumped when I told them I wasn't sitting out. They're calling it the 'Bionic Leg.' "

Ella Bonafede scored a season-high five goals and forced two turnovers for the Friars (17-1). Maggie Bill, who was named league MVP, added two goals and two assists.

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"It's awesome to think about what we've accomplished," Bonafede said, "and Kasey playing through pain has been our inspiration."

Second-seeded St. John the Baptist, a burgeoning program, made its first appearance in a final by beating Sacred Heart for only the second time in its history. But St. Anthony's, the perennial powerhouse, entered ranked fourth in the country. The Friars had three wins over national top 10 teams, including an April 27 upset of then second-ranked St. Stephen's & St. Agnes of Virginia.

"We wanted the No. 1 [ranking], but you can't be disappointed about winning another championship," said senior Natalia Chaney, who had a goal and an assist. "I couldn't be more proud."

Taylor Mitchell’s goal with 16:11 left in the first half – a laser from 6 yards that ricocheted in off the pipe – gave St. Anthony’s a 2-1 lead it didn’t relinquish. Kaitlyn Montalbano scored to bring the Cougars within 4-3 late in the first half, but Behr and Bonafede answered immediately.

Kaitlyn Montalbano, Jill May and Morgan Jaycox each scored twice for the Cougars (13-5), but St. Anthony's pulled away with a 5-0 run midway through the second half.

Bonafede scored three of her goals after intermission and was named Player of the Game. "No matter how many championships we win," the sophomore said, "it never gets old."

Izzy Mangan added two goals and an assist, Kim Coughlan won three draw controls and Charlotte Campbell made seven saves for the Friars.

"We know Kasey's hurting and she's going off pure adrenaline," Bill said, "so to do what she's done for us is absolutely incredible."

She gave them a (bionic) leg up on the competition.

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