Nike/US Lacrosse Northeast Girls' Season Rewind
by Will Cleveland | LaxMagazine.com
|Manhasset celebrates its title after topping Victor in the New York Class B State Final. (Courtesy Photo)|
Northeast Player of the Year
Julia Glynn, Manhasset (N.Y.)
Disco made a comeback this year in the hamlet of Manhasset on Long Island. It wasn't the late 70s music, but the sweet music made by two girls' lacrosse standouts.
Julia Glynn and Lindsey Ronbeck worked 'disco' to perfection, helping lead the Indians to their first state championship in 11 years. 'Disco' is the play Manhasset utilized again and again when it found itself in a 7-2 hole against Victor in the Class B state championship. And 'disco' is what gave Manhasset its first lead at 8-7 in the second half.
"We did that play this whole entire year and it worked almost every single time," said Ronbeck, a junior attacker who is committed to the University of Florida.
"Lindsey and I work very well together on the attack," said Glynn, a senior midfielder who is headed to Harvard in the fall. "She knows when I'm looking to feed her or when I'm looking to drive. I know the same about her.
"With 'disco,' we basically work from behind the cage and the other girls coming from up top are decoy cuts. I would drive and try to catch her defender sliding to me and either dish it off or bring it back around for a little flip pass. It's basically working the crease until you find an open shot or an open shot to the other player."
Glynn, an adept faker, was able to lure Ronbeck's defender and feed her in front of the wide-open net.
"Sometimes she even fakes me out," Ronbeck said. "I'll be cutting through the eight and she'll fake me the pass and I'll expect to get it. But really she is just faking her defender and I'll get the pass two seconds later in a perfect position to finish. It's a skill I've been trying to master myself, especially going into next year."
Glynn was the catalyst all over the field for the Indians, finishing with 54 goals and 34 assists, including four goals and three assists in the state championship. She also had the ability to win important draws and mark the opponent's most capable offensive threat. When the stakes where the highest, Glynn was at her best. That includes a five-goal, four-assist performance in a 15-8 win over Wantagh (N.Y.) in the Nassau County Class B final. She helped the Indians claim the top spot in the Northeast regional rankings to earn the Nike/US Lacrosse Northeast Region Player of the Year.
"She is probably the best I've ever had here," said ninth-year Manhasset coach Danielle Gallagher. "I've had others who have been great in their skill-sets, but she is the total package."
That's high praise considering that Manhasset continually sends a boatload of players to the NCAA Division I level, including defender Meg Markham, a Tewaaraton Award nominee and first-team All-American last season at Penn.
"I just think it's work ethic," said Gallagher, who spent 20 years playing for Team USA and completed in four World Cups. "She's always coming in and asking questions. Sometimes she is over-analytical, and going to Harvard, she wants in the ins and outs. But she understands that there are too many moving parts for it to be black and white. With five other moving pieces, she understands that things are gray. She is usually the smartest player on the field. This year, she's done a good job of turning off her brain and trusting her instincts."
Glynn was forced to shoulder more of the offensive load this season as the Indians lost three players to ACL tears.
"She has been the catalyst that has lit the fire," Gallagher said. "She has dealt with the pressure well and stepped up and taken more of a leadership role on the field."
The 5-foot-8 Glynn doesn't view it as pressure, however.
"A lot of people are coming up to me and saying I had to carry the whole team on my back, but our whole team, every single person had a role," she said. "I could hear the players on the sideline cheering and those were the girls who probably would've been playing by my side. Having that atmosphere where girls were so supportive and motivating for me, I wasn't really pressured, I wasn't really stressed. I just took it upon myself that if I had that lane or if I had or I had that pass, I would just get it off, because I knew there was no going back."
She credits Gallagher's approach for pushing her game to the next level. Gallagher, a former standout at the College of William and Mary and a 2006 inductee into the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame, recognized a lot of herself in Glynn.
"She is one of the best coaches at the high school level. She definitely instilled a lot of things in me that she saw in herself," Glynn said. "She pushed me to be my best. She even got a little hard on me sometimes, because she knows I have it in me. Even if I got that ground ball, there was always something I could've done better, like how come you weren't there a little bit faster or how come you got back-checked and some other girl got it. Through that, I was able to become a better player and challenge myself more. I think I became more poised and more talented."
It's pretty crazy how much things can change in one year. But that's exactly what happened for the Victor (N.Y.) girls lacrosse team, Under first-year head coach Jamie Smith, Victor went 10-8.
This past season, the Blue Devils went 19-3, defeated traditional Section V (Rochester area) powerhouse Brighton (N.Y.) twice, captured their first Class B sectional title, and advanced all the way to the Class B state title game for the first time where it lost to top-ranked Manhasset.
"I think our focus this season was teamwork. Really, the team that I had this year is like no other team that I've had the privilege to coach," said Smith. "To put the accomplishments aside, just the dynamics of the team we had were remarkable. It's really going to be hard to duplicate in that aspect, because no one was too shy to pass to anybody and everyone believed in each other. That's what I'm going to build off of for future years."
This Victor team cemented itself as one of the growing powerhouses in Section V by defeating Brighton twice, including a thrilling come-from-behind 8-7 win in the Class B sectional final.
"That was a goal of ours in the offseason, to just be an elite program," said Smith, who played in high school at Fairport (N.Y.), another Section V school in suburban Rochester, and then for a season at SUNY Cortland (NCAA Division III). "Brighton is a model program for Section V. Getting that first win, it proved to us that they're a beatable team and that once we get into the sectional tournament, we could make that run."
That run started on May 1 with a 10-8 win over previously unbeaten Brighton and ended with an 11-7 loss to Manhasset in the Class B state finals. Victor led 7-2 in that game before the Indians answered with nine straight goals.
"Just to be a finalist in the state in huge. I thought we had it, but obviously something happened in the second half. Manhasset was awesome," Smith said. "I told the team that it leaves something for another team to be the first at. It would've been nice to have everything in one shot, but it keeps the other girls in the program hungry for that feeling."
The Blue Devils graduate eight seniors, including key contributors in Hannah Savage (Loyola) and Megan Maloney (Canisius) on offense and goalie Liz Nussbaum (Lehigh). Victor will have a strong core of talented offensive players returning. That includes rising senior attackers Alyssa Fries (Richmond) and Sarah Kopp and rising junior attacker Bridget Flynn. They will also have rising sophomore Casey Messier in the midfield.
"We'll have a strong attack, but filling the shoes of Liz will be tough," Smith said. "She was huge in sectionals and states."
Smith thinks the pieces are in place for this Victor run to continue, citing the strong core of returners and the commitment of players in the offseason and preseason to get better.
"In the upcoming years, this will be the year that kids look at, and then they will think, 'Okay, 6 a.m. practices in the preseason, that's what we need,'" Smith said. "We need that commitment and that drive and passion to be the best that we can. This is the model team that we will look back at. In the youth program right now, they want these kids' autographs. They are going to feed off of this and they are going to want that feeling when they get up to the varsity level."
2014 Northeast Region Report Archive
- February 25 - Preseason Top 10/Player of the Year Watch List
- March 25
- April 1
- April 8
- April 15
- April 22
- April 29
- May 6
- May 13
- May 20
- May 27
- June 3
- June 10
- June 17
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