LEBANON, Ohio — Three years and an eight-hour drive represented a long wait for Pride 2020 Red (Va.) coach Eleanor Gollob to see her program play its best lacrosse.

In the US Lacrosse Midwest Summer Splash U15 championship game here today against top-seeded West Coast Starz (Calif.), her players made the wait worthwhile – and quickly, too.

Six Pride players scored and the team assisted on five markers as the third-seeded Virginians jumped out to a 7-1 lead and defeated the Starz, 10-4, at sun-splashed Lebanon Sports Complex. Kate Burke and Maeve Dolan each scored twice and Ellie Dorsey had two of the helpers in the decisive first half.

“I’ve been coaching these girls for most of the last three years, and I’ve seen their quality of play improve,” Gollob, also the club director, said. “It was exciting to come to a US Lacrosse event against these strong teams and play our best lacrosse.”

By finishing 1-2, Pride and the West Coast Starz earned automatic berths in the eighth annual US Lacrosse National Championships July 19-21 in at Grand Park in Hamilton County, Ind. They’ll decide on or before Wednesday to accept or not.

Pride took command early. Dolan scored on a right-to-left drive at 22:20, followed soon after by Aine Coyne’s conversion of a Mya Brock feed for a 2-0 lead. After goalie Olivia Klein stonewalled a shot by West Coast’s Mia Kohn, Pride cleared and scored when Dorsey fed Burke with 16:45 left in the half.

Pride continued to get good looks, and West Coast goalie Courtney Kaufman twice was up to the task. But the Starz failed to clear both, and Dorsey made them pay by feeding Annie Newton for a 4-0 Pride lead less than 12 minutes into the game. After a timeout, Kohn shrugged off a bump and found Carly Irvine to get the Starz on the board at 11:15.

Pride would not allow West Coast to build any momentum, however. A Klein save started a possession that ended when Dolan dodged Annabell Gauvreau down the right alley to answer and put Pride ahead, 5-1. Kaufman continued to make saves for the Starz, but succumbed to too much possession time for the Pride. Emily Maier assisted Burke on a slow break, and Brock drove the right lane for a goal and a 7-1 halftime lead.

“We knew they were good at playing one-on-one defense, so we wanted to find ways to pass the ball around,” Burke, who played for the Yorktown (Va.) High School junior varsity as an eighth grader, said. “The draw and dump was working.”

Pride picked up in the second half where it left off in the first. Brock fed Coyne just 25 seconds into the frame. Playing up due to a yellow card against the Starz, Pride quickly took advantage as Ashley Viglione beat a single defender on the goal-line extended left side, scoring with 22:59 to play. Less than two minutes later, Dorsey made it academic by converting a pass from Hope Heiden.

“It’s so amazing to come here and win,” Pride goalie and emotional leader Tatum O’Grady, who played the second half, said.

As Pride worked the clock, the Starz showed flashes of the play that earned them the top seed following pool play. Mara Zajac scored on a nice pass from Tatum Lenain at 13:43. Lenain later scored unassisted, as did Kohn to provide the final 10-4 margin.

“It feels so amazing to finally win a championship,” Burke said.

The Starz may remember better their semifinal, in which Lenain etched her name into the club’s lore. Fouled on a drive down the middle with five seconds left in a 9-9 game with Players 360 YS 2019 (Ill.), Lenain buried the ensuing free-position goal to send her team to the final. Pride likewise eeked out a one-goal win in the semis, holding off Wildcat Elite (Ill.), 11-10.

O’Grady mentioned she was not looking forward to the eight-hour drive back to Northern Virginia, a scenario no doubt mitigated by the bracket board that illustrated Pride’s run to the title.

“We’ve had so much fun here,” she said, clutching the board with a smile.

U14 Final – Lacrosse Monkey (Minn.) 6, Lakeshore 2021 (Ill.) 4: Jaylen Rosga scored three of her game-high four goals in the second half as Lacrosse Monkey won the U14 division championship. With her team trailing at the break, 3-2, Rosga evened the game just 40 seconds into the second half.

Charlotte Callahan answered to put Lakeshore back on top, 4-3, at the 21:30 make, but that would prove to be Lakeshore’s final goal of the game. Jordan Flink made seven saves for Lacrosse Monkey, stifling Lakeshore while Rosga scored consecutive goals at 13:00 and 11:15 to give her team the lead back. Caitlyn O’Gary gave Lacrosse Monkey the final, two-goal lead with 8:31 to play. That would stand up as Lacrosse Monkey earned revenge for a 12-4 loss to Lakeshore in pool play.

Both teams earned automatic invitations to the US Lacrosse National Championships next month.