Unbeaten Mater Dei Overruns Oak Park in Title Game

Mater Dei scored its first goal only 14 seconds into Saturday’s US Lacrosse Southern Section championship game with Oak Park, and the Monarchs (21-0) never looked back in winning 15-4, their 21st consecutive victory and first section title.

Mater Dei led 3-0 six minutes into the game and 5-0 before the Eagles finally got on the board with 14:22 left in the first half. The Monarchs were faster, both in the open field and in picking up loose balls, and their passes more accurate and their finishes more decisive.

Things might have been different had Oak Park not been coming off its prom the night before and playing an 11 a.m. game after driving some 90 miles. When the teams met earlier this season, Mater Dei won 16-12 at Oak Park. But even a good night’s rest and another home game might not have made much difference. The Monarchs were that good Saturday.

Mackenzie Wallevand, Mater Dei
Mackenzie Wallevand and the Monarchs had little trouble penetrating the Oak Park defense.

Even scarier? They could be better next year. All of Mater Dei’s offense Saturday came from members of its junior class: Mackenzie Wallevand (6g, 2a), Lauren Gonzalez (5g, 1a), Grace Houser (3g, 1a), Maddi Hooks (1g) and Annie Ng (1a). And junior goalie Courtney Wallburger, named player of the game and recipient of an Alpha Lacrosse stick, made six saves.

For Oak Park (16-4), the loss ends an incredible run for 10 seniors who made four consecutive appearances in the US Lacrosse Northern Division title game. The Eagles lost by a single goal in 2014 and 2015 before finally winning the title this year. The senior class went 65-19 in four years.

Morgan Shorts, Oak Park
Mater Dei’s defense kept Morgan Shorts and the Eagles bottled up Saturday.

Saturday, though, the Eagles struggled to possess the ball and run any sort of offense. Their shots and passes were consistently off-target, and Mater Dei pounced on every loose ball. The Monarchs were credited with 22 ground balls to 10 for the Eagles.

The result was an offensive showcase for Mater Dei, which built an 8-1 lead before the Eagles scored their second goal and an 11-2 lead by halftime.

Senior Shayne Costello led Oak Park with two goals, and senior Morgan Shorts and junior Cam Bear each scored one. Shorts also had an assist. Senior goalie Meggie Sheehan made four saves playing only the first half, and junior Alexis Robinson made four in the second half.