On a soggy spring day, in a barnburner that came down to the game's waning moments, the 1992 St. Andrew’s girls lacrosse team etched its name in school and Washington Area Girls Lacrosse League history, winning the inaugural league title.
A team composed mostly of sophomores and juniors, they repeated as champions in 1993 and 1994, setting a standard of excellence at St. Andrew’s and in the WALL. On October 14, the squad will be inducted into the St. Andrew’s Athletics Hall of Fame at during Homecoming and Reunion weekend at the Alumni Awards Brunch.
The team was comprised of Beth McLaughlin ’92, twin sisters Lexa and Torie Castiello ’93, Alison Dodd ’93, Missy Dye ’93, Katie Ellis ’93, Danielle Kolb ’93, Christina Loukas ’93, Serena Sherard ’93, Katie Winder ’93, Renee Barnett ’94, Jenny Benson ’94, Aubrey Fox ’94, Lynn Rosenbaum ’94, Camila Sosman ’94.
Thanks to the returning talent and the tutelage of future St. Andrew’s Hall of Fame inductee Ginger (Walsh) Cobb, the team laid the groundwork for a three-peat as league champions. Not to mention the impact they had on St. Andrew’s Girls athletics as a whole.
“Ginger set the tone from the top that she was the coach, but that she made it a lot of fun,” recalled Barnett, who was a sophomore on the team.. “She expected a lot. And it was intense, but they're also like a lot of laughs and I felt like we really were a good unit. We all played together and we had a lot of chemistry.”
The coach recalls a close-knit team that had fun sayings like "always running" and "you got the look" meaning you looked determined to score or take the ball back on defense. And the dedication of everyone involved, down to the team manager, Chris Phalen ’94.
The student-athletes remember having a young female to look up to and admire as their mentor, on and off the field.
“She was amazing and we all had fun learning from her and learning how to be a team with her. She was just a great coach and leader,” said Kolb, echoing the sentiments of her teammates, some of whom, like Sherard and the Castiello twins, still regularly keep in touch.
“I think we all looked up to her as she was one of the few teachers at St. Andrew’s that was closer in age to us,” Kolb said. “So we were all kind of drawn to her because she was just really good with girls our age.”
And thus, the team found success early and often. The 1992 season culminated in the first of three straight league championships. A momentous accomplishment for a school – and athletic department — still in its nascent stages in its second decade of existence.
Unrecognizable compared to today – both in location and school size – it was the girls teams of the early 90s, with girls lacrosse being one in particular, setting the standard for what the athletic department could become.
A championship-caliber program.
“More than anything, it felt validating for us as a team knowing that we could compete with other established teams and hold our own,” Torie said. “I started at St. Andrew’s when they’d only been around 10 years, so they were still kind of finding their footing in terms of certain athletic endeavors. I feel like we were really starting to build then and starting to establish St. Andrew’s as a force to be reckoned with athletically and taken seriously, and that was nice.
“It was nice to have that kind of confirmation for us instead of feeling like maybe we could do it, but not really knowing.”
Now, anyone who walks the halls of the Student Center and sees the Hall of Fame plaque honoring the team will be aware of just how monumental of a time it was in the athletic department’s history.
For those on the team, it’s conjured up fond memories from their younger years. Not to mention a chance to reconnect with old friends during Homecoming & Reunion.
“It was a wonderful group of people with a common goal and we were able to achieve it and there was just a lot of fun building to that,” Cobb said, adding, “I’m really excited to see those that will be coming back. They’re great, great people.”
Ones that would credit their Hall of Fame coach for setting up their successful young women on and off the field, for years to come. Which makes the honor of going in with a team, not herself, that much more special for the coach.
“It’s a real honor to be inducted and to know that we were groundbreaking in the school’s history at that point. We are starting a league and it was the first lacrosse title for the girls. That’s a good feeling,” Cobb said. “It’s nice that we’re being recognized for that.”
For the girls on the team, many of whom now have teenagers of their own, look back fondly at their athletic endeavors and accomplishments at St. Andrew’s. But it’s only part of the reason the school still holds a special place in their Lions hearts.
“I appreciated St. Andrew’s very much,” Lexa said. “These days for a school or entity to practice what they preach like they do – and the proof is in the pudding. There's a teacher there from when I went there.”
Building and growing on the strong foundation set in the spring of 1992.