West Girls' Regional Report
by Todd Karpovich | LaxMagazine.com
Martha Byrne, Coronado (Calif.)
Lucy Dikeou, Kent Denver (Colo.)
Kiki Gibson, La Costa Canyon (Calif.)
Games to Watch
Bingham (Utah) at Pinnacle (Ariz.)
Kent Denver (Colo.) at Denver East (Colo.)
1. Carondelet (Calif.), 7-1
After losing to Amador Valley (Calif.), the Cougars reeled off five consecutive wins, including an 18-7 victory over St. Ignatius (Calif.). Each team plays each other twice, so Carondelet still remains in the driver's seat for a conference title. "The second time teams see each other will be big," Carondelet coach Rick Jeffery said. The schedule doesn't get any easier for Carondelet, which is gearing up for a competitive trip to Colorado to take on Kent Denver, Air Academy and Cherry Creek.
2. Kent Denver (Colo.), 3-0
The Sun Devils are off to another strong start after reaching the conference semifinals last season, returning from a spring break trip where they played two-time defending Arizona champs, Chaparral, and came away with a 21-8 victory. Kent Denver travels to league rival Denver East on Friday and will host Northern California powerhouse Carondelet next week.
3. Amador Valley (Calif.). 8-1
The Dons look dangerous and remain in the hunt for a conference championship with a signature victory over Carondelet (Calif.). Amador Valley shook off an overtime loss to Monte Vista-Danville with consecutive victories over state foes, California High (10-9) and San Ramon Valley (19-4).
4. St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.), 7-1
California earned some regional bragging rights when St. Ignatius knocked off former No. 1 Cherry Creek (Colo.), 11-8. Sophomore attacker Kate Mattimore had five goals and was "instrumental in orchestrating a composed effort in the attacking end," coach Amy Harms said. Senior goalie Noelle Ruane had 10 saves on the day with only two turnovers on clears.
5. Cherry Creek (Colo.), 5-1
On a trip to California to match up with regional powers, Cherry Creek bounced back from an opening loss to St. Ignatius (Calif.) with dominant victories over Menlo School (18-10) and Palo Alto (20-8). The Bruins continue to churn out Division I recruits, and midfielder Tori Link recently committed to Colorado.
6. Coronado (Calif.), 8-0
The Islanders are off to torrid start with eight consecutive victories by an average margin of eight goals. Sophomore Martha Byrne has been a dominant force on draw controls and ground balls. "She's a great athlete and a great kid," coach Jessica Battle said.
7. Air Academy (Colo.), 5-1
The Kadets have been able to score goals in bunches this season, averaging 19 per game. Air Academy's only loss was a 17-11 setback against Cherry Creek (Colo.), but the Kadets are still alive in the championship race with 11 games remaining on the schedule.
8. Bingham (Utah), 6-0
The Miners have rattled off seven consecutive wins to start the season, including a convincing 19-7 victory over regional and state power Alta (Utah). Attackman Olivia Winters has been especially dominant, and she buried seven goals in a 13-3 victory over West Jordan (Utah). Bingham has showed the balance and maturity for a deep post-season run.
9. La Costa Canyon (Calif.), 8-1
The Mavericks are riding an eight-game winning streak since losing 10-5 to Coronado (Calif.) in the second game of the season. The teams will meet again May 1. Coach Casey Rector is pleased with her team's work ethic and the ability to learn from its mistakes.
10. Lake Oswego (Ore.), 4-0
The Lakers have all the talent to defend their state championship, and they have easily handled their four opponents. First-year goalie Julianna Ramey is already adapting well to the position, being supported by returning starting defenders Siobhan Mead and Kate Hearon.
News and Notes
Riding Five-Game Win Streak, Carondelet Prepping for Colorado Trip
Despite losing nine players to graduation, No. 1 Carondelet (Calif.) looks primed to defend its North Coast Section Division I championship. The Cougars still have eight returning players and several Division I recruits who have picked up the slack this season.
Erin Jeffery, a Hofstra recruit, totaled 16 goals and four assists in three games last week, giving her 40 goals and 13 assists on the season. Kerianne Hunt, who is headed to Brown, also has been productive, scoring four goals and four assists against St. Ignatius (Calif.). Coach Rick Jeffery also credited goalie Katie Merritt (San Diego State) and midfielder Morgan Castelein (Ohio State) for coming up big this season.
Last week, Carondelet avenged last season's loss to St. Ignatius with a decisive 18-7 victory.
"They lost a couple of key players," Jeffery said. "They beat us 10-5 last year. Our girls were really pumped up to play them. We were very motivated to play well against them."
The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Cougars. Next week, they travel to Colorado to play three games against the area's top teams: Kent Denver, Air Academy and Cherry Creek.
"It's going to be a challenge because we are going to be on the road and dealing with the high altitude," Jeffery said. "Once we get that first game under our belts and get used to the conditions, we'll be fine."
Depth Driving Kent Denver's Success
No. 2 Kent Denver (Colo.) has also managed to stay unbeaten with a high-powered attack.
The Sun Devils are led by several Division I recruits, including Lucy Mower (Vermont), Lucy Dikeou (Stanford), Lizzie Strazza (Florida), Molly Coates (Cal) and Caroline Schlegel (Cal).
"The depth of this team is obvious," Frederick said: "Thirteen different players have contributed to the 94 points accumulated in three games."
Entering the week, the Sun Devils are 3-0 and will travel to league rival Denver East on Friday before hosting top-ranked Carondelet next week.
"We are pretty much just entering the main part of our season," coach Chrissy Frederick said. "Starting Monday, we will begin a stretch where we will play 12 games in 25 days."
La Costa Canyon Adjusts After Loss, Rides Momentum
No. 9 La Costa Canyon (Calif.) learned some valuable lessons in a loss to Coronado (Calif.) in the second game of the season. Since the 10-5 setback, the Mavericks have not lost, reeling off seven consecutive victories. The team has a showdown on Friday with Torrey Pines (Calif.), which also has one loss.
"There have definitely been some adjustments made since that initial loss," coach Casey Rector said. "With our fundamentals and knowledge of the game improving each practice, we have also stepped up our overall level of play, in knowing that we do not want to feel that again. The girls have responded well and are going out everyday playing with a purpose and with something to prove. Each practice we become better, each game we overcome a challenge, and each player knows our ability to win when we play as a team."
St. Ignatius Hands Coach Amy Harms Biggest Win Yet
No. 4 St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) picked up what coach Amy Harms called her biggest win in her six years at the helm with an 11-8 victory over Cherry Creek (Colo.).
Cherry Creek led 6-2 with 10 minutes left in the first half, but St. Ignatius continued to chip away in the driving rain. The Wildcats then dominated the second half, holding Cherry Creek to only three shots. After gaining control of the game's final draw, St. Ignatius completed a strong stall for the final 3:40 of regulation.
"This was a huge win as Creek is the program that we have looked to as the standard of success of West Coast lacrosse," Harms said. "It was an amazing Saturday and I know that we are very excited to return to Colorado next year to test our program again against this well-coached team."
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