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WILDWOOD — After making a save in her catching net, Lafayette junior goalie Delaney Stulce often surveyed the field, looking to pass to a teammate.

But in her back pocket, Stulce always had a Plan B. If she found nobody open, she simply smothered the ball on the ground beside her and waited.

Katherine Goddin did the rest.

On several occasions this season, Goddin scooped up a ball resting near her goalie’s feet and raced 100 yards, ducking and weaving through an entire team of defenders to score a breathtaking goal.

“That’s kind of our last-resort play,” Goddin said. “They just say, ‘Katherine, go get it, run it down there and see what you can do.’ ”

And what Goddin did this season was remarkable. An elite defender, she ranked among the top five girls lacrosse players in the area in draw controls (103), ground balls (85) and caused turnovers (61), but it was her offensive prowess that surprised even herself.

The Lafayette senior midfielder ranked second in the region in goals (97) and points (119), leading the Lancers to an undefeated regular season, a No. 1 overall seed in the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association tournament and a third-place finish.

Goddin's excellence in all facets of the game earned her the distinction of Post-Dispatch All-Metro girls lacrosse player of the year.

A four-year starter, Goddin always relished her role as a facilitator, getting the ball to prolific scorers like Maria Johnson and Lori Lohmann. This season, sophomore Sophia Scheller emerged as the Lancers' most talented goal scorer, and Goddin was perfectly content with playing great defense, retrieving the ball and feeding her.

“The first few games my goal was just to get the ball to my teammates because they’re the better shooters,” Goddin said.

Through the Lancers’ first six games, Goddin scored just 11 goals, as Scheller went on a goal-scoring tear to open the season.

“Our quote for the season was 'Run the risk,' and I would always run the risk at practice," Goddin said, "but in the game I thought, ‘I don’t want to mess anything up; I don’t want to waste shots.’ ”

But in the closing minutes against Eureka, Scheller took a stick to the face that required stitches and caused her to miss the next three games.

It was then that Goddin, who will be attending Miami University of Ohio, approached Scheller and asked how she could help in filling the void on the offensive end.

“For her, as a four-year varsity player and two-year captain, to ask an up-and-coming sophomore for advice on how to perform, just speaks volumes about Kat’s integrity,” Lafayette coach Carrie Guenzler-Heaney said.

Goddin scored 20 goals in the three games Scheller missed, and upon Scheller’s return, continued a torrid stretch, netting 29 in the next four contests against some of the area’s strongest teams. She went from averaging fewer than two goals a game, to averaging seven.

To be honest, I didn’t know it was in me,” Goddin said. “I just think my confidence wasn’t there yet, and as soon I realized what I was capable of doing — helping my teammates and also scoring — that really was the game-changer for me.”

With Goddin’s newfound scoring prowess, Lafayette raced out to a 16-0 record heading into the final two regular season contests, but opposing teams were now designing defenses to stop Goddin. Both John Burroughs and Summit employed a face-guarding scheme that flustered her at first.

“Even when I did the thing where I get the ball in the crease, as soon I stepped out, I was guarded right away,” Goddin said. “It was physically and mentally challenging, because no matter where I went, I was completely shut off, so I really had to rely on my teammates to help me.”

The Lancers won both games by a single goal, as Goddin found enough space to score three times in the second half of each contest, including the game-winners.

Cruising into the state semifinals, the Lancers ran up against Summit’s smothering defense once again. This time the Falcons successfully kept the ball away from Goddin, holding the Lancers to their lowest goal output of the season in a 10-6 victory, en route to their first state championship.

“Summit deserved to win that game. They were flawless,” Goddin said.

The disappointment of being the top seed and failing to win a state title did not affect Goddin in the third-place game against MICDS. She scored six goals, including one on a spectacular, end-to-end, 100-yard dash, as Lafayette jumped out to an 8-0 lead and handily defeated the Rams, ending the season with a 21-1 record.

“We had such a great bond this year, and we knew this was the last time we would be playing with each other,” Goddin said. “We felt like we were playing in the state championship.”

And in a way, Goddin’s specialty — the 100-yard scoop-and-score — perfectly symbolizes what she did for the Lancers this season: she picked them up and carried them when they needed her most.

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