Adelphi sophomore attacker Alexandra Leggio was named to the all-tournament...

Adelphi sophomore attacker Alexandra Leggio was named to the all-tournament team after the Panthers lost in the Division II final on Saturday, May 25, 2024. Credit: Mike Watters/Mike Watters Photography

This is the unspoken but fully understood part of the bargain in sports.

Someone will win. Someone will lose.

Although the arrangement is acknowledged and accepted, that doesn’t make the hurt of a dream deferred negligible. Instead, the pain is acute. It is excruciating.

It will linger.

“We all wanted this so (badly),” said Adelphi sophomore attacker Alexandra Leggio after the top-seeded Panthers’ 13-8 loss to second-seed Tampa in the Division II women’s lacrosse national championship game at Showalter Stadium in Winter Park, Florida Saturday afternoon.

“It was for the people who are leaving because this was their last opportunity to do so,” Leggio said.

Adelphi, which finished the 2024 season with a 19-4 record, entered the game looking for the program’s 10th national championship. Instead, Tampa (19-3) won its first title in its first final appearance. Spartans midfielder Sophi Wrisk was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. She scored five goals and had an assist in the championship game.

Leggio, who scored four goals for the Panthers and tallied her 100th career point in the loss, was named to the All-Tournament team.

Marielle Colalillo recorded four points (one goal and three assists) for Adelphi. Kerrin Heuser scored twice. Tamia Lawson added a goal.

Starting goaltender Jillian McFadden allowed 10 goals before being replaced by Madison Marchetta with 7:55 remaining in the third quarter. Marchetta finished with four saves and three goals against after replacing McFadden, who made two saves.

The teams had met earlier in the season, with Adelphi having routed the Spartans 13-6 in Tampa on Feb. 3.

What transpired 87 days after the first matchup bore exactly no resemblance to the first contest. Rather what took place two hours and nine minutes northeast of Tampa’s athletic complex was a 60-minute besting at the hands of an aggressive Spartans squad.

Adelphi committed 17 turnovers and was held to a season-low 14 shots on goal. The Panthers had averaged 26.1 shots per game coming into the title game.

“We didn’t have our best game and I would have liked to have done that on this stage,” Adelphi coach Pat McCabe said. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes.”

Adelphi trailed 5-3 at the end of the first quarter. Wrisk scored three goals in the opening 4:48 of the game. Colalillo's goal at 7:32 got the Panthers on the board. The quarter ended with Peyton Howell (10:44) and Wrisk (13:12) trading goals with Leggio (11:46) and Heuser (14:12).

“We’ve been a notoriously slow-starting team for a lot of the year,” McCabe said. “That’s kind of been one of our trademarks.”

Tampa outscored the Panthers 3-0 in the second quarter, and its lead grew to 10-3 when Wrisk scored twice in a 58-second span midway through the third quarter. It was at that point the decision was made to switch goaltenders.

Leggio scored her second goal of the game with 2:27 left in the third to make the score 10-4. However Tampa’s Sarah Hinkle scored back-to-back goals in a 51-second span early in the fourth to push the advantage to 12-4. The eight goal deficit was the biggest Adelphi faced all season.

Hinkle finished with four goals for the Panthers. Howell, Lexi Waters, Gracie Colombo, and Riley McGettigan each added a goal for Tampa, and goalkeeper Alex Walling recorded six saves.

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