ATLANTA – It wasn’t the first meeting of the season between crosstown rivals Milton and Cambridge, but this one was for all the marbles. The Lady Eagles and Lady Bears faced off in the Class 6A-7A girls lacrosse state championship Saturday at Lakewood Stadium, with Milton winning its 11th state championship with a 13-4 victory over Cambridge.
The first lacrosse state championship to feature two public schools from the same city pitted the championship veterans Milton against the newcomer Lady Bears.
Milton was making its 13th consecutive state championship appearance, earning a state title berth every year since the GHSA began recognizing girls lacrosse as a state championship sport. Meanwhile, the youthful Lady Bears, with just one senior, were making their first trip to the title match.
The championship veterans would ultimately prevail, opening a 6-2 lead in the first half and outscoring Cambridge 7-2 in the second half to earn the 13-4 win.
Senior attacker Sophie Baez led the offensive charge for the Lady Eagles, scoring four goals. Fellow senior Courtney Hutchinson scored a hat trick, with all three goals scored in the second half, and Hannah Demis scored two goals.
Belle Dora led Cambridge in scoring with two goals followed by Claire Xiao who scored and assisted on a Dora goal. Milton head coach Tim Godby praised his defense for holding the Lady Bears, who had not scored under five goals in a game this season. Milton senior goalie Bridget Deehan had six saves.
“In the state championship the girls are usually going to have jitters early, so you always want to play well defensively,” Godby said. “We held them to four goals and had a great defensive effort all-around.”
Godby also spoke highly of his senior class, which includes 10 starters.
“They are a phenomenal group of girls,” he said. “They did everything right all year. It’s a huge loss for our program but they have left a legacy that hopefully will continue to build our program in the future.”
Though Cambridge found themselves on the losing end, head coach Pam Masinko was still proud of her team’s efforts against perennial powerhouse Milton.
“I think we were right there with them, but ultimately the ball didn’t bounce our way,” she said. “There were a couple of shots that didn’t go in and a couple of loose balls that didn’t go our way, but we played with them buzzer to buzzer.”
“We are a young team, so I am very excited for what they achieved and being able to come out here against a quality opponent like Milton and have a few balls bounce the wrong way be the difference is still good,” Masinko said.
With 19 returning players slated for next year, the future looks bright for the Lady Bears. And the team chemistry and youthful talent should allow them to make another run for the state title next year, Masinko said.
“We will come out hungry,” she said.