There’s no option for a redshirt or a fifth year.
And that hasn’t quite hit Bayside South Defensive Player of the Year Jillian Petito.
“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet that next year we’re going to college,” Petito said. “I feel like we just ended lacrosse, and we’re getting ready for soccer season in the fall. I don’t think it’s really going to hit me until August that we’ll never play with each other again.”
Petito’s recently-graduated teammate, Payton VanKirk — the Bayside South Offensive Player of the Year has come to terms with the end of the group of seniors high school careers.
It did end with a valiant loss in the 3A/2A state championship game and now one last honor before Petito becomes a goaltender for Mount St. Mary’s and VanKirk a midfielder for University of Maryland Baltimore County.
“It’s bittersweet obviously,” VanKirk said. “When the season ended, it was a heart-breaking loss, but we were all so happy and felt so blessed to be at the game.”
VanKirk scored 60 goals and dished out 25 assists in her senior season. Petito, who earned her second-straight POTY award (she was co-defensive player of the year with Ally Beck last season), came up with countless double-digit save games in her career.
Teams can’t win big games without goalkeepers like Petito, Stephen Decatur head coach Bob Musitano said after the 7-6 semifinal win against Hereford when she had 10 saves.
Mustiano said the same all season about VanKirk too, calling her a leader and coach on the field. Of course, Stephen Decatur did have eight players on the All-Bayside South First Team. Parkside graduated its talented senior class with four on the first team and James M. Bennett and Cambridge-South Dorchester each had one.
“Our offense this year was such a threat,” VanKirk said. “We really had such a strong offense that it made it so much fun. We had so many goals that were so cool, so different.”
Petito credited her young defense that really meshed well together and helped the state finals run.
The year prior, Petito had worked with a mostly veteran defense.
But this year, she stepped her leadership role and brought everything in one motion together.
“I thought it was nerve-wracking at first, but Jillian really took the younger girls under her wing and really helped them,” VanKirk said. “I thought that made our defense stronger — having her leadership and Ally Beck.”
“This year, Ally and I had to help the younger girls a lot,” Petito said. “It was just working at practice and answering questions.”
But like many of the athletes on Delmarva, high school sports are done and there won’t be more games.
But that doesn’t mean a few of the Decatur girls won’t play each other. VanKirk and Blair Yesko, who will play for Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, will get to play against Petito at The Mount.
“It will be weird,” Petito laughed.
“I hate shooting on her,” VanKirk said.
“I know where she shoots every time,” Petito added.
Maybe they’re all ready to move on after all.
On Twitter/Instagram: @DTimes_Marshall
All-Bayside South First Team
Alivia Roskovich, Parkside
Blair Langeler, Parkside
Maria Gianelle, Parkside
Emily Davis, Parkside
Allie O’Leary, James M. Bennett
Ally Beck, Stephen Decatur
Jillian Petito, Stephen Decatur
Payton VanKirk, Stephen Decatur
Blair Yesko, Stephen Decatur
Elle Bargar, Stephen Decatur
Peyton Townsend, Stephen Decatur
Claire Porter, Stephen Decatur
Lexie VanKirk, Stephen Decatur
Brooke Webster, Cambridge-South Dorchester
Bayside South Offensive Player of the Year: Payton VanKirk
Bayside South Defensive Player of the Year: Jillian Petito
All-Bayside South Second Team
Blair Vilov, Parkside
Kelsey Nock, Parkside
Alexis Nock, Parkside
Madeleine Peters, James M. Bennett
Keegan Marsh, James M. Bennett
Gabby Haisington, James M. Bennett
Jane Turner, James M. Bennett
Brittany Schmidt, James M. Bennett
Brigette Ardis, Stephen Decatur
Jillian Metricic, Stephen Decatur
Victoria Kerkovich, Stephen Decatur
Christina Romano, Stephen Decatur
Ashley Pete, Cambridge-South Dorchester
Gabby Lanso, Wicomico
Kasil Nicales, Wicomico
Mairin Jabagat, Wicomico
Maddy White, Wicomico
Dara Gregory, James M. Bennett
Jaibyn Hull, James M. Bennett
Rachel Florek, Stephen Decatur
Sara Metricic, Stephen Decatur
Hallie Edmunds, Stephen Decatur
Erin Smith, Stephen Decatur
Jordan Klebe, Stephen Decatur
Paloma Sterrett, Cambridge-South Dorchester
Shelby Moffic, Wicomico
Bailey Truitt, Wicomico
Alexis Taylor, Wicomico
Kristin Waro, Wicomico