VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) – It was a storybook-ending for a storied program.
“It’s still hitting us all. I think it’s all sinking in,” said Julie Swain, the head coach for the Cox High School field hockey team, who defeated First Colonial 2-1 for the 6A state championship on Saturday.
The Patriots (22-1) came into the game as the favorite, and as the third-ranked team in the nation. Not to mention, they’d bested the Falcons three times over the course of the season. Still, “The mindset was we were not going to lose,” said senior Cassidy Atchison.
Sure enough, with First Colonial having two goals whiped off the board (one was deemed to dangerous and the other off the foot of a Patriot) it seemed like things were certainly rolling the Falcons’ way. Ashley Drum tied things at 1-1 in the first half, Leah Crouse scored the go-ahead goal with 20 minutes to go, and the Falcons hung on for what was a historic celebration.
“It made everything worth it,” said senior Alexis Gingerich.
With the win, the Falcons, who’d lost to the Patriots in the previous two state title games, finally bested their beach rivals, and won the program’s 19th field hockey state championship. No other program in the state has more.
“It feels good to be a part of something bigger than just one team. It’s a whole tradition,” said Atchison.
Swain is not only the head coach, she bleeds green and gold, having played for the Falcons when the team won its first title back in 1981. Fittingly enough, her number when she played…19.