Maher leads Westlake past Briarcliff
THORNWOOD, N.Y. – Rebuilding a program can take years. Building a program from its birth can take a decade. For the Westlake girls lacrosse program, it took just two years. The Wildcats secured a birth in the playoffs earlier in the season, but with a 14-12 victory over Briarcliff on Monday they finished over .500 for the first time with a 9-7 record.
“We were one win away from making the playoffs last year, and we worked so hard to get there this year,” senior Megan Maher said. “Between our night practices over the winter and everything that’s happened this season, it’s all come together with this win today and a great season.”
Maher’s first goal of the game came with 16:06 left in the first half. It gave the Wildcats a 3-1 lead and was her 100th career goal.
“It wasn’t something I was looking for but as the goals piled up I thought maybe I had a chance,” Maher said. “The 100th goal was definitely the toughest though. The pressure was piling on.”
With the pressure relieved, Maher went on to score three more times in the game. Tori Oswald and Kristina Dalton each added a hat trick with an assist for Westlake.
With eight minutes to go in the game, Westlake held a commanding 14-8 lead before Briarcliff went on a run of three goals in less than a minute that put a scare into the home team. With 1:59 on the clock, Briarcliff had a look from the 8-yard stripe that was knocked aside and off the pipe by Westlake’s senior goalie Rebecca Fallon. It was her 17th save of the day.
“When that shot went off the post I was like ‘Oh thank God,” Fallon said. “That was luck right there.”
Briarcliff was led by Annie Barrett’s seven goals. Melanie Prinz added a hat trick for the Bears, but Fallon seemed to turn shots away all game long. It was special considering it was senior day.
“It feels amazing,” Fallon said. “Our senior class is the first graduating senior class, we started the program. It just feels great today.”