Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Rocky Balboa, Herb Brooks and Herman Boone — those were the three fictional characters largely responsible for David tackling Goliath in Thursday’s Monsignor Martin girl’s lacrosse championship game.
Thanks in part to an inspirational pre-game email, Sacred Heart took down eight-time defending champion Mount St. Mary, 8-6, Thursday afternoon at Nichols School.
Sharks coach Linda Mroz spent Wednesday evening watching three of her favorite movies – Rocky IV, Miracle and Remember The Titans – before she penned an inspirational late-night email to her team.
“I told them they had a job to do today,” Mroz said, shivering from the water bath she received after the win. “I said, ‘It’s our time, our team, take it to them, take it from them.’”
Freshman midfielder Maura Tomm netted half of her team’s offensive output, four goals. She smiled recalling the email.
“(Mroz) just knows exactly what to do,” Tomm said. “Coming in, we knew Mount was the one to beat, and we knew we could do it.”
Sacred Heart was confident though Mount St. Mary had not lost a Monsignor Martin game since 2010 and won both matchups between the two teams this year.
The Thunder’s sideline was somber as coach Marissa Dauria attempted to console her athletes following the loss.
“Obviously disappointment, extreme disappointment,” Dauria said. “As many people have told me over the past couple years, you can’t win forever; it’s going to end somewhere. I just kept saying, ‘it’s not going to be this year.’”
Senior midfielder Gabriela D’Aguiar scored two goals to lead Mount St. Mary. Senior midfielder Shannon Pelitera, the second-leading scorer in program history and 2013 league MVP, had one assist but was held scoreless.
“She’s, in my opinion, the best player we’ve ever had come out of here,” Dauria said. “I know she didn’t play her best game today, but it is just one game.”
Pelitera’s struggles can be attributed to the dominant net-minding of Sacred Heart junior goalie Erica Dombrowki, who stopped 26 shots, including many in traffic during the Thunder’s second-half fury as they attempted to get back into the game. Mroz called Dombrowski “the star of the game.”
Sacred Heart got on the board first, 1-0, and then led 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 before separating itself and attaining a 6-3 halftime advantage.
Dauria was disappointed that her team’s senior class, one of the most impressive in school history, exited with a loss.
“The league is getting better and everyone is catching up with us,” Dauria said. “We had an amazing run. … at some point, you just can’t win the championship every year. Everyone is gunning for you every single game. It wears on you, the pressure wears on you, and I think that’s what happened today.”
There was a common theme among both sides in post-game discussions: Mount St. Mary had everything to lose and Sacred Heart had everything to gain.
“I told them they have a lot to be proud of, no matter what,” Dauria said.
Mroz said she couldn’t sleep Wednesday night and she was shaking before the championship game.
She had no idea she’d be shaking again – this time from a congratulatory water bath rather than nerves – when the final buzzer sounded.
Find reporter Aaron Mansfield on Twitter @AaronCMansfield.Find reporter Aaron Mansfield on Twitter @AaronCMansfield.