Next Stop State Championship

Dominion overcame their rival Riverside 10-8 to secure a berth in Saturday's State Championship.


Courtesy of DHS Yearbook

The girls team worked hard all year with the goal of the state championship, which is now just one win away.

It isn’t common that teams rely on young players to have big contributions on the biggest stages. Most teams would focus solely on upperclassmen, who have the requisite experience needed. Freshmen and sophomores would be an afterthought. That is not the case for the Dominion girls lacrosse team, who relied on their underclassmen and were rewarded for that decision with their first berth in the state final against the Western Albemarle girls lacrosse team on Saturday, June 8th at Salem High School.

They earned that berth after a 10-8 win over Riverside, who they had been unable to beat this year. Most recently they lost in the Region Championship but exacted revenge when it mattered most.

The Titans got five goals from freshmen and three more from sophomores, a fact that was not lost upon head coach Diane Traynor, “They are amazing, we are so blessed to get girls from right from our community who are rising up and are instant impact players on our program. We’ve got so many threats out on the field.”

The contributions came from up and down the lineup, but the leading scorer was freshman attacker Molly Battaglia, who tallied three goals. Her first and third both came on free shots as she beat Riverside goalie senior Mia Paschuck low and to the left side both times. “As a freshman, I was really scared honestly because I’ve never had this big of a game before having a lot of pressure but I just decided to let it go, have fun and play.” Battaglia said. “I knew [Paschuck] was better high than low and I used fakes. I knew I had to be fast to beat her.”

Dominion extended their lead to 7-3 with 23 minutes left in the second half after a goal by another young player, sophomore attacker Tierney Schaible. “It feels amazing. I’m so happy. We got to keep playing like we did tonight and just demolish them,” Schlaibe said.

Not all the contributions came from young players, as senior goalie Katie Petersen was exceptional, stopping 16 of 24 shots, including some tight ones. Multiple times Riverside players eluded the defense and came in on her doorstep before shooting. Petersen made outstanding saves, protecting the Dominion lead. “It feels amazing. I’m very happy for me and my teammates right now,” Peterson said, choked up with emotion. “I’m very happy that I get one more time [to play] with my teammates.”

The importance of Petersen’s contributions was not lost on Traynor. “I am so amazingly happy for Katie. She is an awesome kid who deserved to have the most awesome game of her life tonight,” Traynor said. “She came up huge, and she was our anchor back there.”

Shortly after the Titans went up 7-3, the Rams responded, scoring three goals in two and a half minutes to cut the lead to just one. Traynor called a timeout at the 14:04 mark, trying to stabilize her team, and it worked. For the next four minutes, no scoring occurred, and no solid chances occurred for either team other than a shot off the post for Riverside.

Then, at the 9:56 mark, yet another freshman, Ashlyn Hickey, was able to put a shot past Paschuck, and Dominion would match goals with Riverside the rest of the way en route to the win, eliminating the Rams.

On the opposing sideline, the Riverside Rams were understandably devastated, as Riverside head coach Kristan Ash was seen consoling numerous members of her team. “I’m really proud of those girls. They gave us everything they got on the field. They wanted to come out on top tonight. It didn’t go our way, but win, lose, or draw, we love our team,” Ash said.

For the Titans, the road continues, as they will travel to Salem with a state championship on the line. “This is so amazing, I could not be more proud of my team. We felt it was our time this game and our girls pulled through,” Traynor said.