For three straight seasons, the Roanoke Catholic boys’ lacrosse team has been tantalizingly close to a state championship, only to fall just short. Last Saturday those defeats were a distant memory as the Celtics defeated Trinity-Meadowview 13-12, to win the Virginia Independent School (VIS) Division III state title.
The lacrosse program at Roanoke Catholic has experienced tremendous success since its inception, advancing to the VIS state semifinals in each of its first three seasons of existence, including a runner-up finish in 2007. However, the Celtics (14-4) experienced heartbreaking, one-goal defeats each time.
But this was a different year, and last Saturday, Roanoke Catholic wrote a different script – not that it was easy.
With 1:26 left in the fourth quarter, senior midfielder Stephen Allman scored to put the Celtics up by three goals – a seemingly insurmountable lead with such little time remaining. But Trinity Meadowview – last season’s VIS state champ – responded with two quick goals to cut the Celtics lead to one with just under 45 seconds left.
“I think a lot of people were thinking that it might slip through our fingers there at the end,” Celtic Head Coach Tripp Allman said. “It was pretty tight there for a while.”
During their impressive four year run, the Celtics have been led by a trio of seniors, all of whom will be suiting up in college next spring. Allman, who will be attending Randolph College in Lynchburg, was a first-team all conference selection in each of his four seasons, and led the team with 58 goals and 28 assists on the year.
Zach Zoller, who will attend Washington and Lee, totaled a whopping 289 points in his career as an attacker – including 50 goals and 47 assists this season. Longstick defender Sam Cook, who anchored a strong defensive unit, will attend Roanoke College.
“I’m just really glad for the seniors – and for all our guys – that they will graduate and go through life knowing that they won a state championship, and that’s something that can never be taken away from them,” Allman said.