ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. - They came back once.
They came back twice.
Eventually, the Washington Township girls' lacrosse team ran out of rallies. And out of time, too.
"We kept digging ourselves a hole," coach Sandy Stockl said. "We fought back a couple times, but then it just evaporated on us."
Anna Tichy and Lauren Sbrilli each scored five goals, and Carlee Dragon generated four goals and five assists as Bridgewater-Raritan beat Washington Township, 19-13, yesterday in the Group 4 state championship game.
Bridgewater-Raritan (19-4) advances to face Group 3 champion Moorestown in Tuesday's Tournament of Champions semifinals at Monmouth University.
Senior tri-captains Kirstyn Urbas (six), Alysa Maiden (four), and Tori Jordan (two) combined for 12 goals for Washington Township (15-5).
"It was a very frustrating game for us," Urbas said. "We started slow, and then we settled down. But we didn't do a very good job of taking care of the ball."
Bridgewater-Raritan's speed and offensive firepower were big factors in the game. The Panthers scored seven of their goals on free-position plays as their attacks and midfielders kept creating shooting-space violations on Washington Township.
"We tried to slide and help, but their overall team speed made it difficult for our second slide," Stockl said. "They just have so much firepower. They made it tough on our defense."
Bridgewater-Raritan broke to a 5-1 lead. But Washington Township rallied behind Urbas, Maiden and Jordan, tying the score at 5-5.
The Panthers stretched their advantage to 9-6 before the Minutemaids closed the gap again.
"We kept battling back," Jordan said.
Bridgewater-Raritan scored four goals in the final two minutes of the first half to take a 13-8 edge at the break. The Panthers started strong in the second half, outscoring the Minutemaids by 4-1 to increase their lead to 17-9.
"We were confident coming here," Urbas said. "We were ready to win. But we had a tough game."
Washington Township was one of the hottest teams in South Jersey in the final six weeks of the season. The Minutemaids had won 13 of 15 at one point and captured the first sectional title in the history of the program.
"I'm very proud of this group," Stockl said. "They never gave up."
Washington Township 8 5 – 13
Bridgewater-Raritan 13 6 – 19
WT: Kirstyn Urbas 6, Alyse Maiden 4, Tori Jordan 2, Erin Waller.
BR: Anna Tichy 5, Lauren Sbrilli 5, Carlee Dragon 4, Kelly Fenton 3, Kara Golmont, Juliana Pope.
Saves: WT-Devyn Mulholland, 9; BR-Rachel Carlsen, 7.