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Linganore's Wallich redeems herself with game-winner to oust Oakdale in girls lax regional final

Reese Wallich had her chance at redemption.

The Linganore senior watched frustrated from the sideline as Oakdale tied the teams’ Class 3A West Region I girls lacrosse final to complete a four-goal fourth-quarter comeback. Wallich’s penalty served as the catalyst for that tying mark, but she knew she would be released with 19 seconds left on the clock.

So, she made the most of that time.

When she got her cue, Wallich sprinted in to join the play. The Lancers had the ball in the offensive zone now up a player, meaning she was left all alone in the middle. Fellow senior Meg Hummel found Wallich, who drew a free position shot on a shooting space violation.

Wallich buried it with 3 seconds remaining, getting that redemption she desperately sought and vaulting Linganore to a 12-11 home win Monday that gave her team its third straight regional title.

“Oh my gosh, yes, yes,” Wallich said. “This could be our last game for all these girls who’ve been playing with each other since we were 5. I was like, I really can’t ruin that for everybody now.”

That’s the leadership and experience Wallich brings as a four-year varsity starter, someone who knows how to step up in clutch moments and atone for any mistakes.

“You want the ball in her hands at the end of the game,” Lancers coach Dean Coccia said. “It’s a perfect ending to a great game.”

Hummel said she didn’t initially think Wallich would rejoin the play in time. She and Annabel Geisler were sharing the ball on the left side, which drew the attention of several Bears figuring one of them would take the final shot of regulation.

But that left Wallich undefended.

“I hear her voice. And I look up top, and she’s wide open,” Hummel said.

Coccia trusted his seniors to make that read, as it’s a group well-prepared for moments like that. He said he didn’t have a timeout to use and draw up a play, but he wouldn’t have burned it if he did.

That’s an endorsement of players like Wallich, who finished with five goals and three assists, and Hummel, who had a hat trick while adding a helper. Geisler, Zoe Lange, Lexi Petrie and Leah Doy each scored once, and Payton Boteler made 13 saves.

“We have the whole piece of the puzzle,” Coccia said. “We have an awesome attack. We have a strong midfield and we have an unbelievable defense with a great goalie. When you think about high school playoffs, you really want that type of formula.”

Linganore (11-4) needed every bit of that formula to click to stave off Oakdale (8-6) in those final moments.

The Bears’ Avery Ray scored her fourth goal of the game on her own free position with just under two minutes to play. It brought even what had been a push-and-pull game, with neither squad leading by more than two until the Lancers rattled off three goals in the final 77 seconds of the third quarter.

The game featured five ties, though Oakdale never led at any point. Allison Finley had four goals and two assists, Riley Bova notched two goals and two assists, Emma Carey scored once and Kaitlyn Staiger had three helpers.

“We know they’re gonna fight back. They’re a great team,” Coccia said. “They never quit.”

But neither does Linganore.

Wallich badly wanted to redeem that penalty, and once she sprinted back to the field with time ticking away, she had her chance. And on the free position, she converted.

“I’m happy to never play Oakdale again,” Hummel said. “It’s a good rivalry, and that’s my last time playing them ever. We’re happy to leave it like that.”