Class C girls lacrosse: Top-seeded South Hadley holds off Hoosac Valley for 2nd straight WMass title (PHOTOS)

South Hadley senior captain Maddy McArdle (15) hoists the Western Mass. Class C championship trophy with junior Raquel Losty (7) by her side following the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley senior captain Maddy McArdle (15) hoists the Western Mass. Class C championship trophy with junior Raquel Losty (7) by her side following the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

The South Hadley girls lacrosse team poses with the Western Mass. Class C championship trophy following the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

The South Hadley girls lacrosse team poses with the Western Mass. Class C championship trophy following the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley’s Elliana Britton (2) takes contact from a pair of Hoosac Valley defenders before scoring a goal during the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley’s Elliana Britton (2) takes contact from a pair of Hoosac Valley defenders before scoring a goal during the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

South Hadley junior Raquel Losty (7) fires a shot past Hoosac Valley goalie Cami Lavato (21) in the first quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley junior Raquel Losty (7) fires a shot past Hoosac Valley goalie Cami Lavato (21) in the first quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

South Hadley junior Ava Asselin (11) shoots on goal during the second quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley junior Ava Asselin (11) shoots on goal during the second quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

South Hadley junior Ava Asselin (11) beats Hoosac Valley goalie Cami Lavato (21) for a goal in the second quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley junior Ava Asselin (11) beats Hoosac Valley goalie Cami Lavato (21) for a goal in the second quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

South Hadley junior Margaret Watkins (10) makes a move toward goal against the Hoosac Valley defense in the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley junior Margaret Watkins (10) makes a move toward goal against the Hoosac Valley defense in the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

South Hadley freshman goalie Riley Nestor (25) makes a save during the first quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley freshman goalie Riley Nestor (25) makes a save during the first quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

South Hadley senior Rachel Yabra (3) sprints past a Hoosac Valley defender during the second quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley senior Rachel Yabra (3) sprints past a Hoosac Valley defender during the second quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

South Hadley senior Maddie McArdle puts a move on a Hoosac Valley defender before turning it upfield during the first quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley senior Maddie McArdle puts a move on a Hoosac Valley defender before turning it upfield during the first quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

South Hadley senior captain Emily Piligian (4) jumps to fire a shot past Hoosac Valley goalie Cami Lavato (21) and in for a goal during the first quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield.

South Hadley senior captain Emily Piligian (4) jumps to fire a shot past Hoosac Valley goalie Cami Lavato (21) and in for a goal during the first quarter of the Tigers’ 19-15 win over Hoosac Valley on Wednesday evening at Springfield Central High School in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

By CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 05-29-2024 8:29 PM

Modified: 05-29-2024 9:18 PM


SPRINGFIELD – South Hadley assistant girls lacrosse coach Julia Miele picked up senior captain Maddy McArdle on her back and ran from the bench all the way downfield to the mob of Tigers players surrounding the goal.

Top-seeded South Hadley had just defeated No. 2 Hoosac Valley 19-15 to win the Western Mass. Class C championship, and Miele and McArdle celebrated their back-to-back titles with a piggy-back ride.

Ninety minutes earlier, the picture wasn’t as rosy. With South Hadley already down 2-0 inside the first two minutes, McArdle crumpled to the turf, screaming in pain and holding her left knee. Head coach Danielle Clark and Miele carried her to the sideline, where McArdle received an ace bandage and some ice. She did not return for the rest of the game, though she said initial tests revealed no damage to her ACL or meniscus.

“It did suck, just not being able to play the whole time,” McArdle said. “But knowing that my team was able to pull through together, even though I was on the sidelines, knowing that they could do that for me, it meant a lot.”

South Hadley only carries 14 players on its varsity roster and has no JV squad to pull from. When McArdle went down, the Tigers’ bench of just two players was cut in half. And after Caitlin Dean’s second yellow early in the second quarter, the Tigers bench was empty.

When the Tigers accumulated their fourth yellow card with 4:25 left, they were forced to play the rest of the game down a player. On the other sideline, Hoosac Valley rostered nearly enough players for two complete teams.

“When (McArdle) got out, we were like ‘we’ve got to go extra hard now,’” fellow senior captain midfielder Emily Piligian said. “We’ve got to win this for her, we’ve got to win this for all of us.’”

Despite the difference in depth, South Hadley immediately responded after McArdle’s injury with a 5-1 run to take a 5-3 lead, one it never relinquished. Up 7-4 after the first quarter, South Hadley moved its huddle from the bench to the trainer’s table. McArdle knew she couldn’t return, but still wanted to give her teammates a message.

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“They gave it their all there and that’s why we won the game,” McArdle said. “I just told them to do that because I believed in them 100% since the very beginning.”

Clark said that the Tigers obviously missed McArdle’s skill in the midfield, but above all, they missed her on-field voice the most.

“We wanted Maddie to be a part of that (huddle),” Clark said. “We wanted her to know we were working out there for her just like she does for us every other game.”

McArdle may have been on the sidelines for 46 of the game’s 48 minutes, but the South Hadley midfield and attack hummed like usual. The Tigers won their fourth consecutive game and scored at least 16 goals for the fourth consecutive time.

Raquel Losty led South Hadley with five goals, Ava Asselin added four and Piligian and Rachel Yabra each tallied hat tricks. Eliana Britton scored a pair and Dean and Margo Watkins added one each. Watkins also notched her 100th draw control of the season – a South Hadley single-season record.

South Hadley plays next in the MIAA Division 4 state tournament, where the Tigers hold the No. 24 seed. They receive a bye through the preliminary round and travel to No. 9 Hamilton-Wenham for the Round of 32 on Sunday at 5:15 p.m.