Lacrosse expects district title

By improving team chemistry and basic skills, girls believe they can win

The referee makes a call after a foul play by a Trinity Prep player on Cox. Cox scored four times in the game.

photo by Bailey Fisher

The referee makes a call after a foul play by a Trinity Prep player on Cox. Cox scored four times in the game.

Alex Konvalina, Social Media Editor

In a program first, last season the girls varsity lacrosse team won a district playoff game against Winter Park and advanced to district finals against Oviedo, but the title game ended in a 20-10 loss, leaving the team defeated in the off-season. This year, they hope to rebuild and claim a first ever district trophy.

With the first two games both wins, head coach Mitch Whittington believes there is potential for a good season ahead. He expects for them to return to the district championships; it’s what they play for, and the number of experienced returners will be big a part of that.

“I am more excited for this season than the previous ten years because of returning players this year: we only lost two seniors that were heavy contributors,” Whittington said. “This year is more exciting because of the talent that returned.”

After losing two of the three midfielders from last year, as well as other key players, the team is focusing on team chemistry and communication, as well as finding out where everyone plays well so they can use everyone’s individual skills to the team’s advantage. Each player has their own personal goals, ranging from perfecting basic skills, working on shooting or their personal position.

“We rely on a heavy, heavy dose of teaching the game and making sure we are very sound fundamentally. Technical aspects are very important; strategy is something everyone has,” Whittington said. “We want to be as skilled of a team and as skilled as an individual player within the team, and that tends to lead to success.”

The most important games of the season are against teams in their division: Trinity Prep, Winter Park, Lake Howell and rival Oviedo, which will be played on March 1. Additionally, the few games leading up to districts will have a large impact on their performance because it gives them an idea of what they need to change in preparation. The main disadvantage the girls face is their difficult schedule.

We want to be as skilled of a team and as skilled as an individual player within the team, and that tends to lead to success.”

“We have the advantage that so many of our players are experienced, most of us have been playing together for at least five years,” attacker Reagan Pomp said. “The only disadvantage is that the other teams in our district are competitive, but we have created plays specifically so that we can work better than them.”

After the first two games, the team has an idea of what they need to work on to improve their in-game techniques. Williams led the team in a 14-9 win against Lyman for their first game of the season with five goals and four draw controls. Senior midfielder AnneMarie Cox also had two goals and two assists.

On Friday, Feb. 10, the team hosted Trinity Prep. The game resulted in a 10-9 win, their record is now 2-0. Cox was the top-scorer with four goals and three draw controls, followed by MaKenna Lehmann with two goals and two draw controls.

“We listened to our coaches and played how we knew how to play,” midfielder Katie Williams said. “Most importantly, we had fun.”

Even though the season is off to a good start, there were still many faults during the games. The team went in overconfident, which almost cost them the wins. But in the end they worked together and used each other’s strengths to their advantage.

“We outran the other people and we used our plays that we had prepared,” Pomp said. “But we need to work on settling down and understanding what our teammate has in mind.”

Whittington, who has been coaching varsity here for the past four years, and assistant coach Scott Gallant have helped the players improve significantly.

“We have coaches that have been in the sport for so long and they help us along the way with any problems,” Pomp said.

Former defender Cox is concentrating on her shift to an offensive position and on how she can improve herself and her team.

“This year I was moved from defense to midfield so I am really focusing on the switch,” senior Cox said. “I want to make an impact on offense and in transition”

Last year, the girls ended their season with a 9-9 record, after a string of losses that began the season. Captains MaKenna Lehmann, Lizzie Marvin and Grace Revak believe with the advantage of the returning players, good defensive plays and smart offensive tactics, they will beat their previous record.

“It’s different [being a captain] because you have to lead the team and there is a lot of pressure,” senior Revak said. “Overall it is a cool experience and something I’ve wanted since I started playing lacrosse.”

After losing to Oviedo 20-10 in the final game, they are working hard to get the district champion title, which Oviedo has held for the past few years.

“I expect our team to be district champions. We have a lot of really strong players that will make a huge difference,” Williams said. “This is our year to beat them.”

Their next game is against Seminole on Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.