Nike/US Lacrosse South Girls' Report
by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com
Player of the Week
Lindsey McKone, St. John' (Texas)
The sophomore midfielder was named offensive MVP of the Division I state tournament in Texas after tallying six goals, two assists and 20 draw controls over the course of three games last week. Her 13 draw controls helped sparked the Mavericks to an 11-1 halftime lead against Hockaday in the semifinals, as they went on to win 15-8. McKone, who is not yet committed anywhere for college, has been a key contributor all season despite her youth and was one of seven returning starters from last year's team. She had 43 goals and 50 draw controls as a freshman.
Also Notable: Jennie Davis, Hutchison (Tenn.); Mary Carter, Lassiter (Ga.); Hannah Rosen, Kell (Ga.)
Game of the Week
Walton (Ga.) at Lassiter (Ga.), May 14
This is a game between the state's No. 2- and No. 3-ranked teams and a rematch of a tightly-played regular-season matchup, which Lassiter won 10-9 on April 26. The Trojans also won this game last year, 13-11, before finishing as the runner-up to Milton. The winner likely meets the eight-time state champion Eagles in the final on Saturday. Lassiter and Walton both produced similar scores against common in-state opponents this season and played a challenging out-of-state schedule, so it should be another good matchup.
South Region Top 10
1. Vero Beach (Fla.), 21-3
The Fighting Indians won their ninth consecutive state title and finished 17-0 against in-state opponents. They were 4-3 against out-of-state competition, all teams that are currently or previously ranked in the national Top 25 this season. Vero Beach, led by Katy Pridemore's 73 goals, 25 assists, are 147-1 against Florida teams over the last nine years, including 128 consecutive wins, and 51-0 in the playoffs.
2. Milton (Ga.), 17-3
The Eagles outscored their first two playoff opponents 41-6 last week to advance to the Final Four, as they are two more wins away from a fifth straight title and ninth in 10 years. In a 21-1 win over Hillgrove (Ga.) in the first round, 15 players scored on 17 assisted goals. Reserve attacker Maddie Langley sparked Milton to a 20-5 win over West Forsyth (Ga.) in the next round, finishing with four goals and two assists.
3. Hutchison (Tenn.), 22-0
The Sting claimed their fourth consecutive state championship over the weekend to bring their in-state win streak to 64 games. Hutchison topped 2013 runner-up Ensworth (Tenn.) 19-7 in the semifinals before beating Houston (Tenn.) 17-2 in the final. Goalkeeper Jennie Davis finished with a combined 24 saves in the Final Four, while Elizabeth Farnsworth (10 goals, five assists) and Griffin Gearhardt (seven goals, six assists) paced the attack.
4. Lassiter (Ga.), 17-3
The Trojans breezed to a 25-3 win over Newnan (Ga.) in the first round of the GHSA Class 6A playoffs last week before edging Chattahoochee (Ga.) 14-12 to advance to the state semifinals. Chattahoochee scored two quick goals to make it a one-goal game with 1:10 remaining, but Alyssa Gattis sealed it for Lassiter, scoring the final goal with 23 seconds left. Mary Carter finished with a game-high six goals.
5. Walton (Ga.), 13-6-1
The Raiders had no trouble advancing through their first two playoff games, beating Kennesaw Mountain (Ga.) 23-3 and Mill Creek (Ga.) 23-6. Against Mill Creek, Erin McBride scored a game-high six goals, while Sydney Baker and Reilly Ewing each tallied three goals. Goalkeepers Emily James and Kathryn Sweeden needed to stop just three shots on goal to preserve the win.
6. St. John's (Texas), 20-4
The Mavericks bounced back from their late-season struggles in a big way, avenging both of their in-state losses in the Final Four to repeat as the Texas Division I champions. St. John's beat Hockaday (Texas) 15-8 in the semifinals before securing the program's ninth state title with a 7-5 victory over Lamar (Texas) in the final Sunday. The Mavericks had lost to both teams within the last two weeks. Sophomore midfielder Lindsey McKone finished with six goals, two assists and 20 draw controls over three games last week – including a 16-2 win over St. Andrew's (Texas) in the quarterfinals – and goalie Winnie Brandfield-Harvey came up with 10 saves in the championship game.
7. Ponte Vedra (Fla.), 19-4
The Sharks finished as state runners up in their first trip to the state tournament, falling to Vero Beach for the second time this season in the final. They didn't lose to any other Florida opponents, as Milton (Ga.) and Walton (Ga.) accounted for their only other losses. Emma Dotsikas finished with a team-high 61 goals, 26 assists, while Abby Walker added 42 goals and 49 assists.
8. Lamar (Texas), 13-4-1
The Redskins couldn't repeat their Houston city tournament final success against St. John's in the game that mattered most and finished as the state runners up. They were 1-2 against the Mavericks this season, and their two other losses were to St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.) and Hutchison (Tenn.). They tied Walton in the first week of the season.
9. Barron Collier (Fla.), 18-6
The Cougars advanced to their first Final Four but ended their season in the semifinals with a six-goal loss to Vero Beach, which matched the Fighting Indians' closest in-state margin this season. Barron Collier's only other in-state losses were to Lake Brantley (Fla.) and runner-up Ponte Vedra (by one), and the Cougars finished 3-4 against out-of-state competition. Junior Olivia Ferrucci finished with 108 goals, 68 assists, 81 draw controls, 83 ground balls and 75 turnovers for the season.
10. Kell (Ga.), 18-1
Leslie Ferguson scored five goals, Haley Swift had eight assists and goalkeeper Hannah Rosen made 18 saves in an 18-12 win over Northview (Ga.), as the Longhorns moved on to the state semifinals – in the small-school division – for the first time in program history. Kell has won eight straight since suffering its only loss to Lassiter (Ga.) on April 11, and the Longhorns still account for Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic's only defeat.
St. John's (Texas) coach Angie Kensinger said her team's focus last week in preparation for the Final Four was "being resilient and believing in each other."
After suffering their first in-state losses at the end of the regular season, the Mavericks bounced back to avenge both of them in the state tournament and repeat as champions. They beat Hockaday in the semifinals and Lamar in the championship.
"We learned a lot from those two losses," Kensinger said. "We learned a lot about the team and made some adjustments. The kids buckled down and worked hard last week and they were ready to go. It was great."
Kensinger said the team's youth – with just four seniors -- showed in the losses, which came in the city tournament championship to Lamar and in the SPC final to Hockaday.
The biggest difference she saw in the state tournament was dominance on the center circle.
"We really dominated the draws this weekend," Kensinger said. "I think we won 11 of 14 draws in the final, and Lindsey McKone had 13 in the Hockaday game, so that was a key stat."
St. John's jumped out of the game to take an 11-1 halftime lead against the Daisies, which Kensinger said "gave the team the boost" it needed. The Mavericks were up 6-2 at the half against Lamar and held off a rally attempt by the Redskins by holding possession the final three and a half minutes.
Winnie Brandfield-Harvey's 10 saves in the championship also were a big factor. She was named defensive MVP for the tournament.
"I was just really proud of the girls," Kensinger said.
Members of the Hutchison (Tenn.) senior class went out in good fashion this year, picking up their fourth state title and finishing 83-3 for their careers.
Hutchison's only losses the past four years were to St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.) in 2012 and to Lassiter (Ga.) and Milton (Ga.) last season. The Sting, which rosters seven seniors, outscored opponents 393-111 during their perfect 2014 season.
Senior leaders included Johns Hopkins signees Loring Gearhardt and Chloe Duke and Stanford-bound midfielder Sandy Smith.
"They just had a chip on their shoulder when came in as freshmen because they had never lost in middle school, and some of them came in and were starters as freshmen," coach Sam Ziegler said of the senior class. "From then on we were talking about taking the program to another level and gaining national recognition. This season was especially exciting going perfect against all of our out-of-state opponents as well, because we had never done that. It's sad we are losing such a great group."
Hutchison rolled to a 19-7 win over Ensworth in the semifinals, with standout performances from eighth-grader Elizabeth Farnsworth (six goals, three assists, five ground balls), Smith (five goals and one assist), freshman Griffin Gearhardt (four goals and four assists) and sophomore goalie Jennie Davis (14 saves).
The Sting got off to a slow start offensively in the championship, but beat Houston 17-2. Farnsworth and Loring Gearhardt both had four goals and two assists, as Farnsworth finished with 109 points on the season and Loring Gearhardt finished with 270 points for her career, which is second best in program history, Griffin Gearhardt (three goals, two assists) shattered the points in a season record with 131. Davis had another 10 saves.
"We just played so well as a team," Ziegler said. "Everything clicked. The defense was phenomenal, and our goalie played the best I've seen her, and our attack was on. We started shooting poorly in the state championship, but the girls really banded together and they just wanted to win."
The Georgia state tournament heads into the Final Four this week, as semifinals are set for Tuesday (smaller schools division) and Wednesday (Class 6A) and the championships Saturday. Both defending state champions remain in play, as Milton and Westminster are both trying for their fifth straight titles.
The Kentucky Scholastic Lacrosse League playoffs are underway with eight teams heading into the quarterfinals Saturday, followed by the semifinals May 20 and championship May 22.
2014 South Region Report Archive
- February 25 - Preseason Top 10/Player of the Year Watch List
- March 4
- March 11
- March 18
- March 25
- April 1
- April 8
- April 15
- April 22
- April 29
- May 6
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