Tonawanda News — LEWISTON — Those wondering if Sacred Heart's ascension last year as a Monsignor Martin Athletic Association girls lacrosse power and a legit challenge to Mount St. Mary's previous dominance now have an answer.
It's indeed for real.
After snapping the Mount's eight-year stranglehold on the title last season, the upstart Sharks handled business again on Thursday, jumping out to a 7-3 halftime edge and withstanding a late rally by the Thunder to capture the title by a 10-8 count at Niagara University.
Despite the aggressive efforts of Mount star Elise Kreuz, who was named the league's most valuable player following the contest, the Thunder had trouble getting the engine revving in the first half and dug themselves a hole they just couldn't climb out of.
Mount St. Mary, which finished the year with a 12-3 record and a piece of the league's regular season crown, showed its mettle in the second half, however. Marissa Dauria's team scored three of the first four goals after the break as Kruez, Catherine Meegan and Olivia MacDonald all scored in the first dozen minutes to make it close.
"We knew we had to do something to try to come back on this team," Kreuz said. "We had to push hard and give everything we had left because we knew there were only 25 minutes left, but it just wasn't enough."
Sacred Heart (11-3) never let it get any closer. Katie O'Donnell scooped up a loose ball near the midfield stripe for the Sharks with under 13 minutes to play and beat Mount goalie Margaret Lorenc to make the score 9-6, giving the reigning champs a little boost just when they needed it.
Marielle Buffamonte scored a pair of late goals for the Mount, but Remmington Zaepfel countered for Sacred Heart to keep some distance between the two.