Wilson scores triple-overtime winner as UHS dethrones Fairmont Senior in state championship

MORGANTOWN — For the first time in five years, there is a new team on top of the mountain in West Virginia girls’ lacrosse.

Behind six goals from sophomore Baylee Wilson, the University Hawks dethroned the Polar Bears, 6-5, in triple overtime Saturday afternoon at Mylan Pharmaceuticals Stadium to claim the WVSLA Division I championship.

“This was something the girls talked about after the loss last year,” UHS coach Scott Stewart said. “We wanted to be back here and have this shot and we did it. We told them this year there was a change in the hierarchy of lacrosse.”

Fairmont Senior has been the class of the state for several years, winning four straight state championships including last year’s title bout against the Hawks. FS won last year’s championship 16-5 over UHS, but it was a different story entirely on Saturday.

Wilson scored three clutch goals in the second half as the Hawks came out on top in the first triple-overtime state championship in WVSLA history.

Wilson scored with 12.5 seconds left in the third quarter to tie the game 4-4, with 25.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie the game 5-5 and send it into overtime and finally on a penalty with 1:59 left in the third overtime period to win it.

University’s Baylee Wilson (31) scores the game-winning goal in triple overtime against Fairmont Senior in the state championship game on Saturday at University High. (William Wotring/The Dominion Post)

“If there’s ever a clutch player,” Stewart began, “she came out and just put it all on the line. The biggest thing that we talked about was making sure there was zero regrets about this. She put everything out there.”

“I’m just kind of all over the place right now,” Wilson said following the team’s celebration. “I’m happy and sad, just everywhere.

“It just means everything to me. After last year’s loss, we just wanted it.”

Wilson scored two goals in the first period to match two goals from Fairmont’s Ayla Lilly as the teams were knotted 2-2 after the first quarter. FS scored twice in the second quarter on goals from Sarah Bulatko and Jocelyn O’Brien to lead 4-2 at halftime.

It was a similar start to last year’s state championship, where the teams played close early on. Last year, however, the game got away from the Hawks after they picked up a pair of yellow cards and the Polar Bears led 10-2 at halftime.

There was no such panic from UHS on Saturday.

“The biggest thing that happened, from day one we told all the girls this is a team,” Stewart said. “Even though today wasn’t what’s normal, we are a team, we don’t just rely on one person. Last year, I think we got a little bit away from that. This year, the whole year it didn’t matter, if someone didn’t score, somebody else did.”

Wilson scored with 6:26 left in the third and then again just 12.5 seconds before the end of the frame to tie the game 4-4.

University’s Baylee Wilson (31) reacts after scoring a goal against Fairmont Senior in the state championship game on Saturday at University High. (William Wotring/The Dominion Post)

Mackenzie Bulzer put FS ahead with a goal at the 4:48 mark of the fourth, but Wilson was able to equalize again, this time with just 25.8 seconds showing on the scoreboard.

“I just wanted to shoot it on net,” Wilson explained. “We had not a lot of time left and we needed that goal.”

“The hardest thing all season has been time management, clock management and situational awareness and (Wilson) has got that,” Stewart said. “That’s something you can’t teach.”

Fairmont dominated possession in the first overtime. The Polar Bears looked to win it with a penalty with 45 seconds left, but UHS goalkeeper Lucy Lambert made one save and then another off the rebound less than 20 seconds later.

University’s only chance of the first overtime came with just 10 seconds left, but FS goalie Liz Amos caught it in her net. Lambert made eight saves in the game while Amos had four stops.

Fairmont again controlled play in a slow-paced second overtime, but the Hawks finally got their chance in the third extra period. 

After winning the opening faceoff, UHS got the ball to Wilson and she drew a penalty in the attacking zone.

“I’m just looking around, not looking at the goal because I don’t want (the goalie) to know where I’m shooting,” Wilson said. “As soon as they blow that whistle, I’m going towards the goal. I just ran and shot it low and it went it.”

The golden goal was Wilson’s sixth on the day and it ended the Polar Bears’ four-year tenure as state champions.

“For me, I want our state to have this kind of lacrosse all the time,” Stewart said of the quality of Saturday’s contest. “So to go out and beat them, and be able to take that is awesome. It’s awesome for the girls, it’s awesome for our program.”