If a struggling goaltender needs to conjure confidence while in net, perhaps there’s no better superhero to consume.
But if opponents knew the secret to getting goals past Dana Mirigliano, the junior goaltender for Springfield Delco might have been in trouble during Saturday afternoon’s PIAA Class 2A girls’ lacrosse championship at West Chester East.
Fortunately for the Cougars, defending Class 2A champ Villa Maria Academy didn’t know to stop Mirigliano’s mother, Danielle, from buying her daughter a particular pregame snack.
As a result, Mirigliano’s stellar play in net, along with help from her team’s quick-striking offense, helped the Cougars claim their first girls’ state lacrosse championship.
“This is really big,” said Mirigliano after her team celebrated its 10-8 victory. “This is the first championship in program history!”
Senior Isabelle Mastropietro led the Cougars (20-6) with four goals, while junior Erin Gormley added two.
The Hurricanes, who won their first state championship last season, scored the game’s first goal about 30 seconds into the game.
The Cougars responded with five unanswered tallies, capped by junior Alyssa Long’s laser from the right side.
Not unlike the character whose image is on her good-luck treat, Mirigliano seemed to save the day each time the Hurricanes threatened.
“I eat a Spiderman cookie before every game,” said Mirigliano, who is committed to play field hockey and lacrosse at Lock Haven. “It’s really weird, but I do that.”
She eats the cookie on pregame bus rides for away games and during warmups for home games.
“My mom started buying me cookies and said, ‘You’re Spiderman,’ and it really helped me play well. It’s really weird, but it’s true.”
It’s also true that Mirigliano finished with seven saves, including four in the second half.
With about 9 minutes left and her team behind, 10-7, Abby Walheim, who starred in the championship game last season for Villa Maria, had a point-blank, free-position opportunity turned away by Mirigliano.
Walheim, Bridget Finley, and Margie Carden led Villa Maria with two goals each.
Mirigliano also had a critical save at the 10:50 mark. Earlier in the half, she also jumped into a passing lane behind the net and forced a turnover.
“I just try to think about the ball as it’s coming in and think about saving one at a time,” she said. “And if the ball goes in, just forget about it and get the next shot.”
Fittingly, the team’s highlighter-yellow T-shirts had a similar motto written on the back: “one play at a time.”
Three previous times, Springfield coach Keith Broome watched as his Cougars cried at the end of state championship games, most recently in 2017 against Archbishop Carroll.
“We’ve been the bridesmaids three times,” said Broome, whose tenure started in 1997. “I’ll tell you, getting the state championship or any championship is unbelievable. And when you’ve seen your kids crying at the end of the game, it’s really tough, because they’ve worked so hard, for so long. It’s just really nice for our kids to celebrate.”
Springifield 7 3 — 10
Villa Maria 5 3 — 8
SP: Isabelle Mastropietro 4, Erin Gormley 2, Alyssa Long 2, Olivia Pace 2