JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bartram Trail went back for seconds and made it count.
The Bears girls lacrosse team became the first area program, boys or girls, to win back-to-back state championships when it edged Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in a 5-4 thriller in the Class 2A title game that went down to the final seconds on Saturday night in Naples.
The Bears, ranked No. 1 in the News4JAX Super 6 all but one week this year, left no doubt, using a stifling defense that didn’t allow a goal for the game’s final 19 minutes to notch a history-making title. Bartram had already pounded Aquinas once this season (17-2) and figured to do the same. But it took every bit of resolve for Bartram to solder this one shut.
Ryann Frechette scored three consecutive goals two minutes apart in the opening half to help Bartram get out of a 2-0 hole, but the Bears fell into a 4-3 deficit early in the second half. That’s when Kaitlyn Williams served up the equalizer, followed by an Adrionna Ferrara faceoff win and goal 12 seconds later for a 5-4 lead.
But that put the pressure solely on Bartram’s defense and it delivered.
Goalie Madison Stevens stopped two point blank shots in the final 10 seconds and Bartram scooped up the carom of the final one to bleed the final ticks off the clock.
Bartram added this title to championships in 2016 and last year. All three have come under coach Meghan Jackowiak. The Bears were also a state runner-up in 2013. It put a bow on a banner season in girls sports at Bartram Trail.
The Bears won the Class 2A competitive cheerleading championship in the large varsity division and went unbeaten in girls soccer to win their third Class 7A title in four seasons.
The Bears also finished seventh in the state wrestling tournament and eighth in the Class 3A Olympic-scoring weightlifting meet. In golf, Bartram reached the Class 3A state tournament and finished 11th.