By TRISTAN MALHOTRA
UHS Girls Lacrosse defeated rival Woodbridge High School (WHS) for the first time in school history 10-9 in its first Pacific Coast League (PCL) meeting of the season.
After trailing for the entire game, Trojan captain Sarah Verdegan (Sr.) scored a goal to send the game to overtime, and Kathy Guo (Sr.) won the game with a sudden-death goal off of the overtime draw.
Despite never having beaten the Warriors, the Trojans entered the matchup with an unprecedented determination and confidence. “This season, we have been able to hold our own against stronger teams and we just had this confidence that we would be able to beat Woodbridge,” Karina Duran (Jr.) said. “All of us have worked so hard, putting time and effort into our stick skills, teamwork, and our strategy on the field. The seniors gave us a lot of advice to build our foundation and they all were saying that this was the moment they anticipated for four years.”
UHS quickly fell behind 0-3 and stayed behind with the largest deficit of 3-8 midway through the second half. Guo said, about falling behind early, “I still believed we had a chance. In lacrosse, goals are scored super quickly, so three goals, even five goals, weren’t too big of a concern. We had a lackluster first half, making mistakes we shouldn’t have, so I knew we could play better in the second half.”
The Trojans stayed in the game despite being down with key contributions from goalkeeper and eventual player of the game Lily Huang (Sr.) and Mackenzie Zambo (Jr.). Huang held the Warriors in check, picking up 11 saves out of 20 shots on goal. Zambo maintained possession for the Trojans by winning a total of 5 ground balls.
UHS steadily closed the goal gap, finishing regulation on a 6-1 run. At the end of regulation, Verdegan tied the game at 9 to send it to overtime. “I had missed three goals before that and it was killing me,” Verdegan said. “Then, close to the second half we were three down and I sprinted, took a shot that rebounded right off the goalie, I caught it, and in a surreal moment, I whipped it into the top right corner of the goal. We were in, and it was amazing.”
In overtime, WHS won the draw but UHS quickly collapsed and took it away. Phoebe Solomon (Jr.) ran to the side of the crease with the ball and passed it to Guo, stationed directly in front of the goal. Guo held the ball, faked a shot downward to draw the goalie out, and shot it in the cleared net. “I was ecstatic!” Guo said. “I turned away, screaming and jumping with my team. I was so happy and proud of all of them and all of the effort everyone had put in.”
Captain Verdegan, a former Warrior, especially enjoyed beating her former teammates. “I have the Woodbridge program, team, and coaches to thank for the player I am today and I will always owe them that,” Verdegan said. “But, I adore my Uni team and am proud to say I was part of such a historic moment, especially because we had been a growing program for so long. It felt incredibly satisfying to beat Woodbridge for the first time in my senior year.”