The rain held off until the game was over, but Linda Mroz still found herself drenched.
Sacred Heart’s rookie lacrosse coach was showered with bottled water Thursday after her team won the Monsignor Martin championship with an 8-6 win over Mount St. Mary at Nichols School.
The Thunder had reigned as the only champions in the eight-year history of the league and had not lost an MMA game since 2010.
“Every team has tried so hard for this and every team has worked just as hard as us,” said junior goaltender Erica Dombrowski. “It just happened that this year we had the right team, the right players and the right coach and it came together to this.
“We beat the Thunder in the rain.”
Mroz, a former Niagara hockey player who has never been a head varsity coach in any sport prior to this season, said she was so nervous she could not sleep Wednesday night, but that she tried to project calm to her team.
“We had nothing to lose,” she said. “I told the girls to go out and have fun. Have a blast. It’s our time. Take it to them and take it from them.”
With the Thunder focusing their defense to stop leading scorer Remmi Zaepfel, freshman midfielder Maura Tomm scored four goals, including three in a 2:35 span covering both halves that gave Sacred Heart a 7-3 lead.
“I knew they were going to shut Remmi down and I told the other girls to step up their games,” Mroz said. “Maura stepped up. She’s a strong player. And the best part is she’s just a freshman.”
Dombrowski made 26 saves, including four on free shots from close range in the second half.
“She did a phenomenal job,” Mroz said. “She is the star of the game. She stood on her head for the team.”
“Our defense was on fire,” Dombrowski said.
Allison Mancuso, Sarah Cilano, Ali Owczarzak and Zaepfel also had goals. Zaepfel tallied two assists.
Gabriela D’Aguiar and Olivia MacDonald each scored two goals for the Thunder. Shannon Pelitera, the school’s second all-time leading scorer and league MVP, faced double and triple teams all game and was unable to net a goal for the first time all season.
“As many people have told me over the past couple years, you can’t win forever,” Mount St. Mary coach Marissa Dauria said. “It has to end somewhere. I just kept saying it’s not going to be this year. I knew it would have to happen eventually but I’m just sad it had to happen to this group of seniors.
“They’ve had great careers and they just have to hang their hat on that, not today. This is just one game, a drop in the bucket for all of the success that they’ve had.”
When the final whistle sounded, the entire Sacred Heart team — Mroz included — raced on to the field and piled on top of Dombrowski.
“It was the story of the underdogs winning,” Tomm said. “It was awesome.”