PLEASANTON -- This was the moment that Evan Murphy and her teammates on the Amador Valley High girls lacrosse team had been waiting for.
And with the North Coast Section Division I title on the line, Murphy and the Dons played their best game of the year.
Murphy, a senior midfielder, scored twice to help Amador Valley beat three-time defending champion Carondelet 8-6, as the program claimed its first NCS title since 2008. Amador Valley finished the season with a 22-1 record and a No. 1 ranking in California by laxpower.com.
It wrapped up a magical year for Murphy, who was chosen as the East Bay Athletic League's Most Valuable Player and a High School All-American, and now has been named the Bay Area News Group's East Bay girls lacrosse player of the year.
"To finally win it," Murphy said of the NCS title, "was the best feeling I could have imagined for the end of my senior year."
With the weight of expectations and the added responsibility of being one of the team's captains, Murphy felt that she wasn't playing her best at the start of the season. But once she put that out of her mind and began to concentrate on her game and the things that she could control, Murphy flourished and played her best when it mattered the most.
She scored 11 goals in three playoff games, with her two goals in the title game coming early in the first half to help set the tone.
"I worked on composure in championship games," Murphy said. "In the past, I tended to just blend into the game and not make as much of an impact. It was a goal of mine to come out strong, and then I did it. I got over that hump."
With a deep and talented roster that included fellow captains Kira Ewanich on defense, Jackie Gilbert at midfield and Allie DaCar in goal, Amador Valley felt that this was its year, a belief that was reinforced with an epic four-overtime victory over Carondelet on April 11.
From there, the Dons were simply unstoppable, winning the EBAL title with a 7-0 record and outscoring their three playoff opponents 44-18.
"Winning that game gave us a lot of confidence, not cockiness, for the rest of the season," Murphy said, "because we finally did something that we had been thinking about for so long."