By: Lauren Doyle ‘20
A lot can happen in one second. With one second left in the 2018 girls field hockey state championship game, Cherry Creek came back to tie Regis Jesuit.
Rather than celebrating a win, the Raiders had to focus to come back strong for overtime play.
“Our whole team said, ‘Let’s not let this define us. We’re not going to lose a championship in the last second, so we are going to come out here and take it to them. We’re going to win,” junior midfielder Lauren Pendergast said in the moment of the 2018 state championship game.
As she had lead her team in each post season game, Pendergast, who had scored four of the five goals during playoffs, pulled out all the stops for her penalty stroke.
“Honestly, every time I’ve practiced going left,” Pendergast said. “So I said, ‘you know what? The goalies anticipate us going left. I’m going right.’ And I thought, I’m going to do it. It’s just going to go in and then we will win.”
That is exactly what happened. The Raiders beat the Bruins 2-1 for their first ever state championship win.
Growing up in Michigan without an opportunity to play ice hockey, Pendergast would scrimmage one on one in the driveway with her older brother Jake. It wasn’t until years later that Pendergast picked up a field hockey stick for the first time the summer before freshman year.
Starting on the freshman team at the beginning of the year, Pendergast was asked to swing up on varsity for the last few weeks of the season. Sophomore year she was one of two sophomores starting on varsity. She has consistently improved her game through hard work and determination both in-season and off. This past season, Pendergast scored eight more goals than the previous season and finished as the most valuable player of the championship game.
“I have grown as a player and also I think we had a really strong team this year all around,” Pendergast said. “We didn’t rely on two or three people to score all of the goals, they came from a bunch of different people. Our team worked so well together because of everyone’s shared love for the game.”
Captain Lauren Pendergast looks forward to leading the team to defend their championship title in the season of her senior year. She is considering playing field hockey at a small D3 college, but for now she is just enjoying her time in high school.
One second… ask the over 1,000 spectators at that championship game how much of a difference it can make. Pendergast certainly knows.