The Walt Whitman High School girls’ lacrosse team dominated its county competition, winning its previous seven games en route to its first region championship in more than a decade.
But no team in the late-season schedule would compare to the one the Vikings faced Friday in Pasadena.
Playing in the Class 4A/3A state semifinals against powerhouse Severna Park — which eliminated reigning champion Broadneck in the East Region title game — the underdog Vikings (13-2) had their postseason run come to an end with a 17-2 loss.
“It was definitely a challenge,” said junior Ali Dane, who tallied Whitman’s lone first-half goal. “… We didn’t make it to states, but we gave it our all.”
Senior goalkeeper Lily Blum recorded seven saves in the first half, doing whatever she could to keep her team in the game. But the Falcons (15-2), laden with college recruits, scored the game’s first nine goals and sent the Vikings into halftime down 12-1. Whitman had no answer for Severna Park’s Laura Milleker (5 goals) and Eva Klaus (4), who combined for seven goals by halftime.
Senior Annabelle Scully scored off a diving shot late in the second half, breaking the scoring slump and sending the Vikings off on a positive note.
“They’re a good team but we didn’t come into this anticipating anything,” second-year coach Katie Bitonti said. “We made it this far, we deserved to be on that field with them and we were ready for anything.”
Added Blum: “We said nobody was allowed to go on the field scared … Nobody was nervous or scared going into it.”
The Vikings went 6-9 in 2012 before Bitonti and her sister Lindsay Bitonti took over and improved the team to 8-6 in their debut season. Whitman went 9-0 at home this spring, defeating Thomas S. Wootton 15-7 in Wednesday’s West Region title game. Its two losses came against Our Lady of Good Counsel and Sherwood.
“We’ve never gone this far, ever,” Blum said. “It was amazing getting this far.”
Whitman is expected to return most of its lineup next season, with five juniors, eight sophomores and three freshmen on the varsity roster.
“We’re going to start from the bottom and work our way back to this,” Bitonti said. “We’re definitely going to build off of this momentum... We set the bar high for ourselves. So as long as everyone shows up March 1, ready to work, we’ll be back.”
Blum’s advice to the underclassmen: “Keep it up [in the] offseason, work all year. They know what it takes to get back here.”
Severna Park 17, Whitman 2
Whitman 1 1 — 2
Severna Park 12 5 — 17
Whitman (13-3): Goals — Ali Dane 1, Annabelle Scully 1.
Severna Park (15-2): Goals — Laura Milleker 5, Eva Klaus 4, Sarah Elms 2, Kelsey Kirk 2, Elsa Björnlund 1, Sarah Childress 1, Lauren Duvall 1, Annie Echerverria 1.