Leeanne Hurster is waiting. Waiting for reality to set in. Waiting for this dream to end. Waiting for her next practice to start because there’s no way it’s over. But it is. Hurster and her fellow John Burroughs girls’ lacrosse teammates steamrolled their way to their second consecutive Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse championship Saturday at Lindenwood University.
The Bombers went bonkers. They absolutely obliterated rival MICDS 15-5 in a match where the final score was not indicative of the just how impressively Burroughs played. On a team with more weapons than an aircraft carrier, the 5- foot-7, 17-year-old Hurster was the most deadly. She scored a team-high seven goals, outscoring the rival Rams by her lonesome. The championship put the final touches on a perfect season that proved to be one of the most impressive of the spring season.
Consider that in their 17 matches this spring, Burroughs allowed 96 goals, far and away the fewest allowed in the league. Their offense cranked out 262 goals, not tops in the league but among the best this season. Their goal differential of 166 (goals scored minus goals allowed) was a whopping 166. That number shows just how dominant the Bombers truly were. They didn’t just beat teams, they manhandled them. They played two matches all season that were decided by one goal. Everyone else got run over by a run away freight train.
One of those tight matches came against MICDS. The Bombers eked out a 12-11 victory the last week of April. Saturday’s rematch was all Burroughs, all the time, by the midpoint of the first half. You’d never know it by how the Bombers went about their actions on the field and what they said after the match. They have a healthy respect for MICDS, which ended its season at 10-2. “On the field it felt like a close match,” Hurster says.
It was only close in their minds. MICDS couldn’t corral all the offensive firepower the Bombers threw at it. Standouts Charlotte Martin and Steph Kelly, each of whom entered the title game with 62 goals, did their share of damage. Martin scored three of her four goals in the first half, including the first goal of the match. Kelly, a standout basketball player, scored three goals.
With so many talented players, it makes the Bombers a matchup nightmare for opponents. But there are teams that can get out of whack when there isn’t enough of the ball to go around. That, Hurster says, was never the case with the Bombers. “We were definitely lucky to have such depth as a team,” she says. “We know everyone is capable of scoring. We’re there to work off each other.”
The dominant performance the Bombers unleashed this season was very much formed in the fire of last year’s title run. The No. 5 seed and carrying no expectations other than their own, the Bombers found their stride at the right time and walked off with the championship.
This time the Bombers were tabbed No. 1 and the defending champs, a double dose of motivation for anyone who could cross their path. Hurster says the team never felt like the top seed was a burden. Instead coach Megan O’Malley wanted her team to see it as just a number. Nothing more, nothing less. “She made sure we knew we earned the No. 1 spot. We worked hard for it and deserved it,” Hurster says.
At some point it’s going to sink in that the Bombers are, once again, the champions. Hurster, though, was still walking on Cloud 9 a day later as she crammed for final exams. “It still doesn’t feel real,” she says. “I’m still waiting for someone to tell me it’s just a dream.” It is a dream. One that she and the Bombers will never stop living.