For the Blackhawk girls lacrosse team, the 2017 season was an education.
Just a year earlier, the Cougars had captured the WPIAL Division II girls championship with a stirring 7-5 victory over Mars to win the WPIAL title, the first in school history.
With 2017, there were some new rules. For one thing, the terminology that had governed the sport changed from "Division" to "Class." Shorter word, but a world of difference in how teams playing in the smaller classification approached the sport.
Schools were now grouped with schools that had a similar size in enrollment. And schools that did well in the WPIAL tournament would be moving on to the first-ever PIAA Class 2A playoffs.
Despite going 17-1 in 2016 and winning that WPIAL title, the Cougars would find themselves competing in an extremely difficult section, Class 2A, Section 2.
Quaker Valley would go on to win the section title with a 12-0 record, and advance to the WPIAL semifinals. Seton-LaSalle would place second at 10-2, but get bounced in the tournament's quarterfinals by Franklin Regional.
For its part, Blackhawk defeated Aquinas Academy, 13-7, in the first round, but then lost to eventual WPIAL champion Hampton in the quarterfinals, 13-7.
During the season, Blackhawk lost four section games: two each to Quaker Valley (14-6, 15-3) and Seton-LaSalle (7-6 in overtime, 14-5).
It was a learning experience for Blackhawk. But with the chance to compete in the PIAA playoffs, the Cougars likely are pleased with the new format. And, they would like to make a statement in future seasons.