County lacrosse makes progress
by Emily Horos
April 26, 2013 01:33 AM | 2492 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Creekview’s Maria Knott has helped the Lady Grizzlies improve throughout the season.
Creekview’s Maria Knott has helped the Lady Grizzlies improve throughout the season.
With many of the county’s lacrosse programs playing their first season at the varsity level, there were plenty of lumps taken this year and not many teams in playoff contention.

However, if you ask the coaches, there has also been a lot of progress even if it doesn’t show in the win column.

“Being a new varsity program comes with its challenges, but it has been great for my players to play teams that have so much more skill than we do,” said Creekview girls’ coach Jennifer Byers. “Playing better teams requires my players to strive even harder for success, and I think my team has done that this season. I know that our record does not show the amount of growth Creekview has gone through this season, but I feel that my players have improved tremendously on an individual and team level.”

Several young players have stepped up for the Lady Grizzlies. Emma Kirwin, a sophomore midfielder, led the scoring attack and transition game and has been a dominate force on draws. Sophomore goalie Natalie Cain improved over the course of the season and had a save percentage of 62 against Etowah, one of the top teams in the state.

Shannon Hemphill, the coach of the first-year girls’ program at Cherokee echoed the thoughts.

“Although we will not make the playoffs, out team has remained competitive,” she said. “This is an achievement in the region we are in.”

The Lady Warriors have been led by senior Taylor Reid—a Reinhardt University signee.

The River Ridge girls sit at 2-10 with five games remaining. The Lady Knight won’t be going to the playoff this season, but coach Ines Haas says they have plenty to build on.

“It’s been a tough season entering as a varsity team as a relatively new team,” she said. “We have had some tough competition against many experienced teams. Our team is growing both fundamentally and in experience.”

Among the team’s leaders are Avery Blackmon, Sierra Haas, Mary Graham and Zoe Richards. Rachel Prater has developed into a solid midfielder, while newcomers Emily Pesch and Lilli Mansell made an impact.

On defense, Taylor Endozo, Taylor Faulkner and Alexa-Rae Hefner stood out.

For the River Ridge boys’ team, reaching the playoffs was never an option as they played a non-region schedule. The goal for coach Russ Armistead was to get his players ready for next season. Among the team leaders are J.J. Vienneau, who scored more than 50 goals, Jacob Samuels, who had more than 50 forced ground balls, and Davis Mackenzie, who made more than 90 saves in goal.

The Knights (4-10) have three games remaining.

Creekview boys’ coach Matthew Renney said he was working with many players who had little or no experience with the sport.

“It was a great first year of learning for our new program and my players showed tremendous growth,” he said. “We will not make the playoffs this first year unfortunately, however we still have four games left this season.

“I still have high hopes for getting a few more wins before the conclusion of the season.

The Grizzlies (3-8) defeated both Cherokee and River Ridge, but fell to the veteran programs at Etowah and Woodstock.

While the Woodstock girls struggled to a 2-7 record with two games remaining, coach Anita Dodd said her players handled it well.

Among the team’s offensive leaders were Jaclyn Chiesa, Grace Witten, Katy Cody and Maddy Stone. On defense Madi Bauer, Lauren Hutchison and Carolina Lawton headed up the coverage.

Of all of the girls’ teams, Etowah found the most success. The Lady Eagles (12-5) have won all the games they should have put took losses to top tier teams like Lassiter, West Forsyth, Walton and Milton.

Two of the county’s more established boys’ programs, Woodstock and Etowah, have had some success.

The Woodstock boys are on the verge of the playoffs. At 9-6 they need to beat Etowah and Walton to get in. However, even in defeat the Wolverines have been competitive—losing four games by one goal.

Etowah sits just ahead of Woodstock in the Area 2AAAAAA standings (8-6, 4-3). With three games remaining in the season, Woodstock is the only area game left. A win would put Etowah into the playoffs.
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