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Rain can't put a damper on Our Lady of Mercy's title win

The Our Lady of Mercy girls lacrosse team

The Our Lady of Mercy girls lacrosse team poses with their CHSAA Class A championship trophy. (May 24, 2013) Credit: Stephen Haynes

It rained on Our Lady of Mercy's parade.

Their best wishes couldn't slow the downpour that persisted through Friday's championship game. "It was a factor," Cate Soccodato said. "But we didn't mind."

After all, the Mustangs stopped the reign.

Soccodato and Samantha Lynch each scored three goals as top-seeded Mercy beat St. Dominic, 9-4, to capture its first CHSAA Class A girls lacrosse title at Adelphi.

The Bayhawks were the two-time defending champs. Our Lady of Mercy? A one-win team a year ago that just completed an epic turnaround.

"It's unbelievable," senior defender Meghan Echausse said as she clutched the championship plaque. "I can now say I'm on Mercy lacrosse with a huge smile and a whole lot of pride."

The program's woebegone past, a memory, as the chants of "Mercy! Mercy!" rang out from the crowd.

"This is the perfect ending," Lynch said. Before the season, first-year coach John Geagan promised his team success and Lynch, admittedly, was skeptical. "But I definitely believe it now," she said with a grin.

Casey McConnell scored twice and Kiera Coyne had nine saves for No. 2 St. Dominic. Mercy led 7-1 at halftime and withstood the Bayhawks' late surge.

Elizabeth O'Sullivan added two goals for OLMA (15-4). Grace Morales, the game MVP, made 11 saves, including a spectacular stop of a point-blank shot with 5:36 left. Mercy's offense lacked its usual explosiveness, but the defense more than compensated.

With 1:29 remaining, Lynch drew a charge and O'Sullivan cashed in with a free-position goal 23 seconds later for the final margin.

That sequence, perhaps, encapsulates the season. Geagan's implementation of a backer zone scheme helped the Mustangs force turnovers consistently, which translated to transition scoring. That, along with the emergence of Lynch, Soccodato and Victoria Courtney -- star sophomores -- allowed OLMA to dominate its conference. It beat St. Dominic (12-8) twice in the regular season.

"It's crazy to think we're champions now, remembering how we only won one game last year," Morales said. "It's like night and day."

And with drenched uniforms, beneath an overcast sky, never was there a brighter day for the Mustangs.

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