KENNESAW, Ga. — Blessed Trinity’s bid for a fourth straight state championship was denied by Starr’s Mill May 18 at Kennesaw State University. The Titans dug themselves into a sizeable first half deficit and could never quite recover with Starr’s Mill dominating faceoffs as BT struggled with turnovers.
“It comes down to whoever makes the fewest mistakes, and we made more than we cared to,” said BT head coach Liz McFarland. “Kudos to Starr’s Mill, they are a good team, and they got most of the possession off the draw. We have to hand it to them.”
Junior Kelly Scott led the Titans with five goals, senior Kayley Attaway netted three and goalie Ansley Biggs had 10 saves.
BT started the first half strong and ended it well on a 4-1 scoring run, but turnovers and lost faceoffs plagued BT in the time between.
Attaway opened the scoring with a goal on a free position less than a minute into the contest, but it was BT’s only goal for the next 20 minutes of play.
The Panthers responded with a quick score before opening a 7-1 lead with BT turning the ball over on six straight possessions.
The Titans’ finally stopped the bleeding with Scott’s first goal to cut the deficit to 7-2 with just under five minutes remaining in the first half. With a breath of life instilled into BT, Scott added two more goals over the next three minutes.
Starr’s Mill won a draw and scored in the final minute, but a Panthers’ turnover allowed Attaway to score her second goal of the half on a free position an put the halftime deficit at 8-5.
Goals were at a higher premium in the second half with both squads clamping down defensively, but the Panthers continued to hold the advantage on draws and BT could never quite get within striking distance.
“It was hard to make up that deficit after the first half,” McFarland said. “But overall, we played hard and dug deep, it just wasn’t our day today.”
BT goalie Ansley Biggs opened the second half with three straight saves, but Starr’s Mill used two goals on free position to lead 10-6 with 15 minutes remaining.
After a frustrating sequence for BT in which a shot careened off the post and the Panthers forced a turnover, Scott netted a goal to put the deficit at 10-7 with six minutes remaining.
The Panthers won the ensuing draw, but the Titans’ Hannah Nee intercepted a pass to set up a BT attack. However, the Titans turned the ball over with a pass inside the point leading to a Starr’s Mill goal.
After winning a scrum for the ensuing faceoff, another turnover gave the Panthers possession and they began running out the clock.
Scott added her fifth goal to cut the margin to 11-8 with a minute remaining, but it was not enough to earn the Titans’ a state title four-peat.
“I’m still very proud of our girls,” McFarland said. “They play with heart, dignity and integrity, and that’s more important than a win.”
The loss ends the career of BT’s incredibly successful senior class. The Titans compiled a 74-10-2 overall record, won four area titles and won three state championships in four appearances.
“Our senior class is a fabulous group of young women, and we’ll be sad to see them go,” McFarland said. “A lot of them were on that first state championship team and each since, so I know it meant a lot for them to be here today.”
Though the Titans will lose a strong senior core, the Titans’ talented underclassmen will likely keep BT as a perennial title contender.
“I think we’re going to be back here next year, that’s our goal,” McFarland said.