Girls Lacrosse: Buzzer beater nets Dublin Coffman win over New Albany, first state title

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Coffman’s Kate Tyack and the rest of the Shamrocks celebrate their Division I state title after a 13-12 win over New Albany on June 5 at Ohio Wesleyan. Tyack scored five goals. It was the first state title in program history.

As if the Dublin Coffman girls lacrosse team’s run to the Division I state final was not impressive in its own right, the manner in which the Shamrocks won their first state championship June 5 proved unforgettable, if not momentarily controversial.

After covering more than 60 yards on a clearing pass with less than seven seconds to play, freshman attacker Ava Westmeyer scored off a pass from Bailey Morris as time expired to give Coffman a 13-12 win in front of 1,105 at Ohio Wesleyan’s Selby Stadium.

“I saw the time was going down and I just ripped it. I didn’t know if it was going to go in but we only had (a few) seconds left,” Westmeyer said. “It’s kind of just, I wouldn’t say ‘hope.’ I didn’t even see it go in. I saw everyone go down the field and I was just shocked.”

Television replays indicated the ball was not in the back of the net at the end of regulation, but a National Federation of High Schools rule change made in 2019 “establishes the release of the ball from the crosse before time expires as a legal shot.”

The rationale, according to NFHS, “eases the determination of a legal shot when time is expiring.”

Kate Tyack’s five goals, three from Amanda Bailey and two each from Morris and Westmeyer paced the Shamrocks, who finished 18-5 and had lost to the Eagles 15-4 on May 6.

Their tournament run included a Region 3 final win over five-time defending state champion Upper Arlington.

“The girls believed and we kept growing each and every day,” Shamrocks coach Michael Murphy said. “We came out and we talked about coming out and playing strong. We know New Albany’s a great team, well-coached (and) well-disciplined and we were able to come out and play strong defense. Our defense came and our offense executed.”

New Albany’s Catherine Gurd shows her disappointment after a 13-12 loss to Dublin Coffman in the Division I state final June 5 at Ohio Wesleyan. The Eagles finished as state runners-up for the third consecutive season.

Coffman led 6-5 at halftime and 8-5 with 18 minutes to go before New Albany pulled within two goals three times, at 8-6, 9-7 and 10-8. Morris scored with 6:16 left to make it 12-10, but Cassidy Clapham and Abby Cole netted goals, the latter with 54.2 seconds to play, to tie it.

Cole finished with four goals and Mary Carson and Katie Kaucheck had three each for New Albany, which finished as state runner-up for the third season in a row. The Eagles, who finished 20-4 and were seeking their fifth championship and first in Division I, lost to Upper Arlington in the 2018 and 2019 state finals.

“It was a tough one. We fought and tried to figure things out and eventually we pulled even,” New Albany coach Elaina Enich said. “They got a lot better (since May). They got stronger and figured things out.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave