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(May 24, 2019) The Stephen Decatur girls’ lacrosse team faced tough competition during the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 3A state semifinals last Friday at Mt. Hebron High School, falling to the Westminster Owls, 15-5.

“They were very skilled all over the field and very fast,” Decatur Coach Sara Braniecki said. “The girls hung with them. We were quickly down 3-0. Then after a timeout, the girls went out and tied it at 3-3. However, after that, they pulled away from us.”

Junior Sarah Engle scored three goals for Decatur. Juniors Elizabeth Dutton and Katie Mitchell had one goal each.

Junior goalie Isy Kristick recorded nine saves.

Westminster went on to capture its second consecutive 3A state title with a 15-9 victory over C. Milton Wright.

Decatur went 7-5 during the regular season and finished with a 10-6 overall record. The Lady Seahawks won the 3A East Region championship last Wednesday to advance to the state semifinals.

It was the team’s fifth regional title in the last six years, seventh this decade, and the ninth in the last 14 seasons.

Braniecki said the season was fun and filled with growth.

“Midway through the season, I’m not sure many people would have predicted us winning a regional championship and heading to the state semifinals,” she said. “But there was one thing we held on to as a team – we always, always work hard and continue to get better until the last game. And they did that.”

Braniecki said the Seahawks peaked during playoffs, many girls on an individual level as well as the team overall.

“We had three days of practice between our Bayside championship game and our first playoff game, and we had a talk about committing and leaving the field each day better than we were at the beginning of practice. That’s what they did,” she said.

The team will graduate three players: four-year starters Logan Townsend and Kennedy Duke, and Kailey Andrew.

“Kennedy is a defender [and] Logan is a midfielder that will play wherever we need her,” Braniecki said.

The pair were also team captains this year.

“[Defender] Kailey Andrews has been on varsity for two years and is the constant positive vibe and smile,” she said. “The coolest thing about her is that when she wasn’t a starter as a senior, she kept working so hard every single day and was playing more and more at the end of the season. That’s a strong kid with good character.”

Engle led the team in points this year with 66. She scored 49 goals and had 17 assists. She also controlled 64 draws. Over her career, Engle tallied 84 goals.

Sophomore Brittyn Lyra Leonard finished the season with 61 points (17 goals, 44 assists). Junior Alyssa Romano had 31 goals and eight assists. Freshman Darby Moore contributed 15 goals and 10 assists.

Braniecki presented team awards to: Moore (Rookie of the Year), Romano (Most Improved), Townsend (Unsung Hero), Duke (Coaches Award), Engle (MVP) and Andrews (Sportsmanship Award).

Only graduating three players, Braniecki thinks the team will be solid for the 2020 season. She is excited and looking forward to next year.

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