By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/30/21
Bishop Shanahan senior Lila Ceribelli said winning the District 1 Class AA championship Thursday – the school’s first district title – is a major step in making Bishop Shanahan a team that commands respect.
“I’m beyond excited,” said Ceribelli. “It really goes to show hard work does pay off.
“Winning districts is such a huge title for us – it’s Shanahan’s first in history and that’s awesome. I think our goal from the start was to make Shanahan a team to remember. We want teams to say, ‘Wow, they are a good team’ and know that when they see us on the schedule they know they’ll have a good game.”
The Eagles (16-3) have indeed earned their opponents’ respect this year. They won their first Ches-Mont League title – winning it over eventual District 1 AAA champion Unionville due to a head-to-head tiebreaker – and then rolled through the Class AA field in districts, finishing it off Thursday with a convincing 14-8 win over Strath Haven.
The titles come in the fourth year of coach Kacy Small’s tenure.
“Kacy was new to the program 4 years ago and he came in and really built it from the ground up,” said Ceribelli, an Elon signee. “He pushes us so much; this has been a goal of ours for 4 years. We’ve been working 4 years to get it.”
Said Small: “Winning the league for the first time in history was our No. 1 goal for the season and my No. 1 goal as a coach when I started at Shanahan 4 years ago. Accomplishing that this year was an amazing feeling for the girls and our program and especially my first 4-year class of seniors.
“A district championship was goal No. 2 for us this year and we felt we would have done that with the 2020 team that lost our season to COVID – so we were super motivated to get that done this year in honor of our 2020 seniors. we have been inching closer to a District Championship every season in my 4 years. We were super confident with our play after winning the Ches-Mont and kept that going into districts.”
Shanahan was dominant in districts. After easy wins over Dock Mennonite and Gwynedd Mercy Academy, they defeated two-time defending district champion Villa Maria Academy, 16-7. Then in the title game against Strath Haven, the Eagles raced to a 7-3 halftime lead and after the Panthers closed within 9-7, Shanahan scored four straight goals to ice it.
“I feel terrible for the seniors from last year who lost their season,” said Ceribelli, who had four goals, an assist and four draw controls. “All of us all said, on the field, ‘Let’s win for them.’ It was really nice to look into the stands and see a ton of them cheering us on. That pushed us more for them and for ourselves.
“Our energy going into the game was so good,” Ceribelli added. “We were ready to go – I knew from warmups that we were so pumped and so excited to be where we were. We wanted to finish what we started.”
Other key contributors were Soph Lymberis (3G, 2GB, 1DC), Ellie Udo (2G, 1A, 2DC, 2GB), Michelle Warren (2G, 1A), Caitlyn Hubiak (1G, 1A, 5DC), Paris Masaracchia (3CT, 4GB, 1INT, 1DC) and CeCe Newman (9 saves).
“We have such a close team; we’re like a family and it shows on the field,” said Ceribelli. “We pick each other up, we’re happy for each when someone scores and when someone makes a mistake we just say, ‘OK, let’s get right back at it.’
“I really do think we have a well-rounded TEAM. We all know our roles on the field and we all execute really well.”
added Small: “When we hosted Villa we were extremely motivated since they have ended our district runs in the past and for the championship game I felt like we were very ready, very prepared, very excited and that showed when we scored the first goal off the opening draw in less than 9 seconds!
Our game plan in the championship game was to control the draw and simply worry about us and what we do and execute for a full game. I told the girls to not get too high or low and just stay focused on the end result and we were able to do that.
“Our team this year has been very well rounded and that’s something we work on all the time. Offensively we try and really spread the ball around so no one can focus on ONE thing when playing us.”
Small and Ceribelli agreed that the only goal for states is to take one step at a time and not get a long-term goal, especially knowing the 16-team field includes Catholic League champion Archbishop Carroll, surely considered the favorite.
“Winning the Ches-Mont League and the district championship back to back is an unbelievable accomplishment for our program, seeing as how both are firsts in school history,” Small said. “I’m so proud of my team, my first 4-year seniors and our entire program!
“The girls are so happy and proud as well knowing they out our program on the map and got it done in both the league and the district and now we are looking to focus on one game at a time during states and cherish every moment.”
District 1 AA championship
Bishop Shanahan 14, Strath Haven 9
Strath Haven 3 6 – 9
Bishop Shanahan 7 7 – 14
Maillet 6g, 2dc, 1ct
McNeely 3g, 6dc, 2gb
Connor 1a, 2gb
Raech 1dc, 3gb
Atsaves 1dc, 2gb
M. Murray 1gb
Spaulding 9 saves 1gb
Lila Ceribelli 4G, 1A, 4DC
Michelle Warren 2G, 1A
Darby Whalen 2CT
Liv Murphy 1G
Ellie Udo 2G, 1A, 2DC, 2GB
Soph Lymberis 3G, 2GB, 1DC
Caitlyn Hubiak:1G, 1A, 5DC
Silvia Baptista 1G
Paris Masaracchia 3CT, 4GB, 1INT, 1DC
CeCe Newman 9 Saves
Tags: Bishop Shanahan