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Highland denies Foxcroft’s bid for third straight state title

The lacrosse team of Middleburg-based Foxcroft School was thwarted Saturday afternoon in its bid for a third consecutive Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state championship, losing 12-4 to nearby rival Highland School inside Robins Stadium at the University of Richmond.

Almost exactly one year after dramatically defeating Highland on a game-winning Alex Grace goal four seconds before the final buzzer, the Hawks got revenge on the Foxes. The team from Warrenton scored early and often in mounting a 10-1 halftime lead.

"Their middies were just better on ground balls than we were," Foxcroft's co-head coach Patrick Finn said. "We were forcing 50-50 balls, we just weren't coming up with them."

Only Malan Jackson managed a first-half score for Foxcroft, which was without the services of Grace - the VISAA Division II Player of the Year and school record holder for career goals, signed to play for the University of Virginia - due to mid-season injury.

On a wet field under dreary conditions, the girls in green improved in the second half as Lucy Matz, Pipsy Steyn and Jackson tallied within a 10-minute span. But it was too late for the Foxes to catch the Hawks.

"Going four years in a row to the state final and winning two of those championships," recounted Steyn, "it's hard to win three."

Foxcroft's season closes at 13-4, with three of those setbacks to conference foe Highland. The Hawks, 18-0 and champions of the Delaney Athletic Conference, wear their first state crown.

The runner-up trophy presented to Foxcroft closes the winningest four-year class the program has ever produced. Among those seniors is leading scorer Steyn, and starting goalie Marias Blundell, as are Grace, Jackson, Winnie Masson, Marisa Sanders, Abby Tostenson, and first-team All-DAC honorees Matz and Serena Holz.

Those players have helped Foxcroft rack up a 58-9 record since their freshman campaign of 2013, capturing three DAC titles to go with their state hardware.

"That class has created what we are," Finn said.

Steyn, also a basketball and field hockey player, earned three straight first-team all-conference honors in a Foxcroft lacrosse uniform.

"Foxcroft was the best place I could have ever gone," said Steyn, who hails from Leesburg. "Getting to the state finals freshman year but unfortunately not winning, that kind of got this team going after state championships ever since."

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