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Girls lacrosse: Bear River dedicates 4A championship-winning performance to coach's late brother

Bear River celebrates their 4A girls lacrosse state championship win against Juan Diego at  Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

Bear River celebrates their 4A girls lacrosse state championship win against Juan Diego at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Thursday, May 26, 2022. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

HERRIMAN — Bear River girls lacrosse coach Jeremy Webb gathered his group together moments after they stormed the field in celebration.

He had one thing to say before they went and grabbed the 4A championship trophy.

"Undefeated state champs," Webb screamed as cheers engulfed him.

Bear River capped off its perfect season on Thursday with a 12-8 victory over Juan Diego at Zions Bank Stadium.

Jenna LaCroix had four goals and three assists, and Marley Kierstead added three goals as the Bears finished off a 19-0 season.

But to Webb and the team, Thursday's game was bigger than just a trophy. After the initial celebration, Webb grew emotional; he choked up thinking of all the time and effort his girls had put into the season, but, also, because of the gesture they made to him before the game.

Last summer, Webb lost his brother. On Thursday, his team dedicated the title game to his memory.

"That was really special for me," Webb said as he fought back tears.

Said Kierstead: "I think every single person on the field could feel him. I wasn't just playing for us necessarily but playing for something bigger than us."

And they played like that in the second half.

Bear River’s Makenzie Mickelsen keeps the ball from Juan Diego’s Nola  Christensen in the  4A girls lacrosse state championship game at  Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
Bear River’s Makenzie Mickelsen keeps the ball from Juan Diego’s Nola Christensen in the 4A girls lacrosse state championship game at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Thursday, May 26, 2022. (Photo: Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

After Juan Diego cut Bear River's lead to 8-6, the Bears responded by putting four quick ones — most of which came from LaCroix — into the back of the net to take full control of the game.

That was something that Kierstead, the team's leading scorer this season, expected to happen. Yes, she had nerves entering the game — it was the state championship after all — but once her team took the field, they all went away, and she was filled with the confidence that only an undefeated record can create.

That confidence never wavered — not when Juan Diego scored 28 seconds into the game, not when the Soaring Eagle put a goal in at the first half buzzer on a long bouncing shot, not when Juan Diego put Bear River in a position that they weren't used to: a close game in the second half.

"I knew that every single person on that field is gonna do something awesome," Kierstead said. "And I had no doubt. I didn't care who shot and I didn't care who scored. I just knew that we were all in it together and that we were gonna win together."

And win is all they ever did this season.

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Ryan Miller has covered the Utah Jazz for KSL.com since 2018.

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