GLENVIEW – The score said 16-5 Loyola, but you wouldn’t know it by Montini’s postgame reaction.
The Ramblers, as expected, beat the Broncos by the wide margin May 31 in the girls lacrosse state final at Glenbrook South, but that didn’t dampen Montini’s spirits.
After all, the program just started in 2008 and could only dream of being in this spot.
“We’ve taken these seniors and we’re playing one of the top 25 teams in the country,” said Michelle Sebastian, who coaches the Broncos along with Virginia Kosenkova. “Being second to them is not the worst thing in the world. We didn’t have our best game. Our best game was on Wednesday [in the semifinal], but you can’t be anything but happy with this group of girls.”
Loyola led, 8-1, at halftime and cruised in the second half to win its fifth straight state title.
Montini’s development as a program has outpaced most others in the rapidly growing sport. The Broncos also have three all-state returners – Frankie Kamely, Molly Marciniak and goalie Michelle Marten – expected back next year to try to dethrone the Ramblers.
“We’re just happy to be here because we’ve never been here before,” senior Sarah Lugo said. “It was a far stretch that we were going to beat Loyola. At the beginning of the season we knew we’d be able to get here, and we knew it would be tough.”
Seven girls represented Montini on the all-state teams. Fran Meyer and Francesca LoVerde were first-team selections. Kamely, Marciniak and Erin Steiner were on the second-team. Lugo and Marten were honorable mention.
Steiner and Lugo missed last season with ACL injuries, and the Broncos filled in their absences. This year, with both back, Montini had a stronger team.
“We knew just adding those girls back in that we were going to be extremely successful this year,” Sebastian said. “I don’t want to say it helped us. I’d never be happy they had an ACL injury, but so many more people got good and had to step up that the team really came together this year.”
Montini finished the season with a 16-3 record with two of those losses coming to Loyola.