DANVILLE -- Carondelet High will play for a fourth straight North Coast Section Division I title in girls lacrosse after getting past Marin Catholic-Kentfield 9-6 in Tuesday's semifinals at Diablo Vista Middle School.
Madison Castelein scored four goals and added two assists to lead the No. 2 seeded Cougars (14-6), who will face No. 1 Amador Valley in Thursday's championship game.
The Dons will host the 7 p.m. game, a rematch of the last two NCS Division I finals.
Carondelet looked in control early against the Wildcats, going up 5-1 in the first half. But Marin Catholic (21-3) came back with three straight goals before halftime, then tied the game 6-6 with 15 minutes remaining.
Carondelet coach Rick Jeffery immediately called a timeout, and the Cougars had a players-only meeting in the huddle.
"We just said 'Guys, this could be our last game, let's get fired up and do this for each other,'" said Castelein, a four-year starter headed to Ohio State. "Everyone just got motivated and we were able to pull it out."
Castelein scored the go-ahead goal with 12 minutes to play on a free position shot. She added another score about four minutes later, and the Cougars' defense tightened up, holding Marin Catholic scoreless the rest of the way.
The Cougars also didn't allow a Wildcats goal for nearly a 20-minute stretch in the first half.
"Our defense has been awesome all year," Jeffery said. "A lot of these kids didn't play a lot last year because we had eight graduating seniors on the team, and these guys all season long have just raised their game each and every game."
Corine Lafayette and Emily Cattermole added two goals each for Carondelet.
At the beginning of the season, getting back to the NCS final seemed a bit of a lofty goal. Only Castelein, Lizzie Whiteman and Corine Lafayette were returning starters.
But a prestigious tournament in Georgia in late April and a challenging schedule prepared them for a playoff run.
"We made it to another day and we'll see what happens on Thursday," Jeffery said.
NCS playoffs Division I semifinals Carondelet 9, Marin Catholic-Kentfield 6
Halftime: Carondelet 5, Marin Catholic 4. Scoring: C -- Castelein 4, Lafayette 2, Cattermole 2, Maloney. MC -- Graham 2, Hill, Rooney, Spiess, Salmon. Assists: C -- Castelein 2, Cattermole, Kocik. MC -- Hill, Rooney, Salmon, K. McCarthy. Saves: Corbin (C) 5, Campbell (MC) 4. Records: Carondelet 14-6, Marin Catholic 21-3.