The Arrowhead girls lacrosse team won its third straight state championship Saturday afternoon at Carroll University, coming away with a 14-9 win over Whitefish Bay-Nicolet-Shorewood and capping an undefeated run against teams from within the state.
Arrowhead finished 16-6 overall and topped the north shore team for the second time this year.
'The girls work so incredibly hard,' said Warhawks coach Tom Truttschel. 'I don't think we took a day off throughout the whole spring and practices. This team is full of character. They have their backs on and off the field, and the drama was kept to a very minimum. That's what makes them such a good team, is the culture that we feel that we've established really comes out in the way they play. They don't want to let each other down.'
Arrowhead started the game well in control. Alli Kroeninger opened the scoring on an assist from Sarah Hahn at the 22:12 mark, and Callie Tjarksen and Emily Dvorak added goals before WNS got on the scoreboard on a breakaway pass to Lindsay Tazalla to make it a 3-1 game. The Arrowhead attack continued to dominate the game, but an 8-2 lead slipped to an 8-4 lead by halftime on goals from Maddy Eppli and Brooke Weber for WNS.
Momentum swung back toward Arrowhead at the start of the second half. Lexi Chatham scored her second goal of the half on a quickstick from Chantel Timmerman for a 10-4 Warhawks lead, and the Arrowhead attackers were far from done. Greta Truttschel, Tjarksen, and Hahn added goals before WNS regained some momentum.
'We tended to get in our own heads a little bit during the game, and we started to play their game instead of our game,' WNS coach Meredith Donaldson said. 'Once we snapped out of that, we started to put more points on the board to make a nice little comeback. They have the mental toughness to be able to turn things on at the drop of a dime, and it's really a testament to their hard work.'
Landry Elliot scored twice on fouls for WNS, and Isabella Mandli added a goal on the 8:11 mark to pull WNS to within 13-7. Dvorak added a goal for Arrowhead with five minutes remaining in the game, but WNS never quit and rounded off the scoring with two goals from Eppli.
'One of the turning points there is when Callie Tjarksen, who is our All-State MVP in Wisconsin, was given a red card when, honestly, it should have been a yellow,' Truttschel siad. 'We had our best player pulled off the field at that point, and so it allowed WNS to get more goals and come back into the game. As hard as it was on Callie to not play the rest of the game, the teammates really stood up for her the rest of the game and played their hearts out for her.'
Tjarksen added, 'It feels really good to be able to do it three times in a row with everybody who's been there with me since the team sophomore year. I feel a lot better about assists than goals. I think it's something that I try to show in my play. I love being a team player and making sure that everybody gets to be a part of it.'
WNS finished its season at 18-3, with two of those losses to Arrowhead.
'They came in this season and they were not expecting to get this far,' said Donaldson, 'and they've put in the effort to get here, and it showed on the field. They picked themselves up time and time again, and that's something that you can't coach. We have a great group of seniors that's graduating, so it's going to be big shoes to fill, but we have a lot of up and coming girls that are going to be just as athletic and just as smart. I'm looking forward to having another great year.'