South Girls' High School Season Rewind
by Rhiannon Walker | LaxMagazine.com
Player of the Year
Kris Coppolino, Winter Springs (Fla.)
Four years of hard work and dedication produced not only one of the most accomplished players in Winter Springs history, but also one of Florida's premier athletes.
Voted the All-Central Florida player of the year, Coppolino tallied 101 goals and 82 assists even though she consistently attracted significant defensive attention. Face-guarded and double-teamed almost every game, Coppolino had to get creative with how she scored: utilizing defenders' momentum against them, spinning out of doubles, and finding the open teammate in a position to score.
The All-American was named the Orlando Sentinel's Player of the Year, Bright House Player of the Year and received the Distinguished Athlete Award from the US Marine Corps. She can now add another accolade to her growing list: Lacrosse Magazine's South Region Player of the Year.
Coppolino grew up in the lacrosse-rich region of Long Island, N.Y., and she's signed on to play collegiately at UMBC. She finished her career with 496 points, ranking ninth nationally all-time, according to ESPN High School.
Green Hope (N.C.) didn't show its dominance this season by going undefeated and winning the NCHSAA. Plenty of teams have won state titles with unblemished records. But what set Green Hope's performance apart is the way in which they won those 21 straight games.
It was the meticulous scoring of the Falcons' attack. It was the effort of goalkeeper MaryCate Kapopoulos. It was the suffocating defense. And it was the way the team stepped up when offensive machine Maggie Auslander was injured.
When those parts worked together, Green Hope transformed into a unit that couldn't be stopped by any team in North Carolina.
For coach Abby Mead, who received her Masters of Business Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, the state championship was her final game at the helm before moving to New York City to work for J.P. Morgan.
The Falcons delivered the perfect parting gift: a 17-6 victory over Charlotte Catholic (N.C.) on May 19, capping off a flawless season.
Tough wins against Charlotte Catholic and defending champion Apex (N.C.) during the regular season prepared the Falcons for their showdown against the state's top two-ranked teams in the postseason.
Green Hope won the state title more decisively than its first meeting against Charlotte Catholic, a 9-8 nail-biter. The Falcons showed their preparation by shell-shocking Charlotte Catholic with six unanswered goals in the first quarter and to lead 9-4 at halftime. Charlotte Catholic, the 2010 champs, wouldn't go down easily, notching a three-goal scoring run in the opening minutes of the second half.
But the Falcons were resilient and their poise shined. Three different Falcons scored within a 50-second span to give Green Hope a comfortable 12-6 cushion. With a little more than six minutes left in the contest, the running clock went into effect and Green Hope went up by 10 goals.
After playing with a cast on her forearm against East Chapel Hill (N.C.), all-conference midfielder Maggie Auslander was named MVP after scoring five goals, adding one assist, recording numerous draw controls and turning in disruptive play on defense.
Green Hope captured its third state title, ending a five-year championship drought, after winning back-to-back crowns in 2005 and 2006. But it was the first since the NCHSAA sanctioned the sport in 2010, and it came in the Falcons' only undefeated season.
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