March 13, 2013

Nike/US Lacrosse Mid-Atlantic Region Report

by Jonah Rosenblum | LaxMagazine.com

Related: National Top 25 | Northeast | Mid-Atlantic | South | West

Players to watch

Bobbie Hall, Okemos (Mich.)
There is always interest watching a top prospect come back from a devastating injury. Hall missed the entire 2012 season after blowing out her knee during her time on the Chieftains' basketball squad. Hall didn't take long to rise in Okemos lore. She was a team captain in her sophomore year, which she finished with 85 goals, 63 ground balls, 51 draw controls and 42 assists, which earned her Lansing State Journal Player of the Year honors. She also became the first girl from the state of Michigan to commit to a Division I school when she signed to join the UConn Huskies.

Autumn Koh, Glenbrook South (Ill.)
Former Titans star CC Hoogland credited Glenbrook South's sophomore goalkeeper with some of the greatest saves she had ever seen last season. Apparently, the United States Naval Academy agreed, securing an early commitment from Koh. Though Koh did help the Titans to an impressive 15-7 record in 2012, she'll want to improve on poor showings against New Trier and Loyola Academy last year, in which Glenbrook South surrendered 18 goals apiece. Still, the Titans surrendered five goals or fewer in five of their final 11 games. Koh also served as the goalkeeper for Lakeshore Lacrosse in the U15 National Championship.

Erika Neuman, Rockford (Mich.)

Neuman left Great Lakes State lacrosse fans salivating last season after her school-record 11-goal performance in Rockford's 17-14 regional final victory over Forest Hills United.The Hofstra commit still has plenty of motivation after a five-goal performance in the state final against Birmingham United wasn't quite enough. The ball was in Neuman's stick for one last shot, but she couldn't quite put it past the goalkeeper.

Now, Neuman will be called upon to lead Rockford to a state title. The first-team All-State star will have help with Kendal Carr, who earned second-team All-State honors, and Meghan Datema, who received honorable mention accolades, rejoining Neuman.

Games to Watch

Lyons Township (Ill.) at Glenbrook South (Ill.), March 16
This will be a pivotal game for the Titans, particularly with a five-game road trip looming and seven of their next eight games taking place away from home. Glenbrook South looks to avenge last season's season-opening 16-15 loss to Lyons Township. The Titans had previously controlled the rivalry, defeating the Lions in each of the prior two seasons. However, the Lions will have to persist without their two top scorers from last season, including Kaitlin Campion who was second-team All-State after a year in which she tallied 83 ground balls, 78 goals, 74 draw controls and 15 assists. Lyons Township does bring back a fairly talented midfield, including Cecilia Luxern and Caroline Tritt, who will have the unenviable task of trying to get it past Glenbrook South sophomore stud Autumn Koh.

Okemos (Mich.) at East Grand Rapids (Mich.), March 27
They don't waste time in the state of Michigan, immediately presenting a rematch of last year's state championship contest. Okemos has won two of the last four state titles, but East Grand Rapids currently has the upper edge, easily defeating the Chieftains 17-6 in last year's title game.

Both teams should come back better than ever. The Pioneers graduated just two seniors from last year's squad and bring back Claire Ludlow, who scored four goals against Okemos to cap off a brilliant campaign. The Chieftains bring back Katie Johnson, who earned all-state honors in the cage as a sophomore, and leading scorer Olivia Sherman. The intriguing aspect is whether the return of Bobbie Hall and Nicki Tague, their leading scorers two years ago, from knee injuries will be enough to tip the scales in this heated intrastate rivalry. Hall and Ludlow were two of just three players from the Great Lakes State to make the ESPNHS Class of 2013 Girls Lacrosse Watch List.

Mason (Ohio) at New Albany (Ohio), April 6
At first glance, the Eagles' season-opening contest against the Comets would seem to be a breeze. After all, New Albany did finish its 2012 campaign with a 16-4 record while Mason finished just one game above .500. But, the Comets came within a goal of Sycamore (Ohio), Medina (Ohio) and New Albany (Ohio) and fell just three goals short against Upper Arlington (Ohio). Mason is certainly capable of competing, and given that its contest against New Albany will mark its fifth game of the season, the Comets should be revved up and ready to go.

The game will feature two of the state's finest midfielders in Kylie Yancey and Morgan Fee going head-to-head. Yancey boasts great mobility for the Comets, while Fee, who also plays hockey for a local boys club team, brings a superb physicality to the field for the Eagles and has committed to Ohio State.

1. Loyola (Ill.)

The Ramblers must defend their state title without Meredith Abrahamson manning draw controls. The good news is that Anna Schueler (Michigan), who scored five goals in the final, is back to lead Loyola's attack.

2. New Trier (Ill.)

The Trevians retain their biggest weapon from last year. Kelsey Murray (Stanford), who notched a hat trick in the state final, returns for her senior season. New Trier fares well out of state, but it must get over the Loyola hump.

3. Lake Forest (Ill.)

The Scouts are powerful on both sides of the ball with Isabelle Montagne (Duke) on defense and Brenna Carberry on offense. Both were among ESPN's top 50 juniors in 2012, making Lake Forest the only Midwest team with two.

4. Culver (Ind.)

Colorado-bound center Annie Morsches (60 goals, 49 assists and 54 draw controls) and Elon-bound attacker Olivia Rabbitt (52 goals, 27 assists) return. Culver went 20-3 in 2012, with two losses to Carmel.

5. East Grand Rapids (Mich.)

Coming off a perfect 28-0 season, the Pioneers are loaded again. They lost just two seniors. Claire Ludlow, who scored four goals in the state championship game, is the top returner.

6. Upper Arlington (Ohio)

The Golden Bears won 16 of their last 17 games and return sisters Syd Farwick and Sam Farwick. The Kennesaw State-bound stars combined for 66 goals. Molly Plasket, who had 15 goals as a freshman, has breakout potential.

7. Blake (Minn.)

Blake captured its third consecutive state title behind the stellar play of Meghan Bauer, who is now at Harvard. Replacing her will be key. The Bears avenged a 14-8 loss to previously undefeated Eden Prairie in the 2012 final.

8. Medina (Ohio)

The Bees scored 14-plus goals in 10 of their last 14 games and avenged a loss to Upper Arlington to win the state title. Sierra Thomas returns after notching the winning goal against Upper Arlington, as Medina eyes its fourth straight state title.

9. Sycamore (Ohio)

Two of the Aviators' three losses were in close games against Medina. They were on the winning end of one-goal games against Mason. It could go either way with Sycamore, which last won a state title in 2009.

10. Mason (Ohio)

Half of the Comets' losses in 2012 came by one goal. They also played nine of 11 games on the road at one point. Despite the obstacles, they finished 7-2 down the stretch.

News and Notes

Lake Forest Aims High

Lake Forest (Ill.) has long circled two foes on its calendar: Loyola Academy (Ill.) and New Trier (Ill.). However, that doesn't mean the Scouts don't have some other key opponents in mind. In particular, coach Julie Levy stressed her team's matchup with Hinsdale Central (Ill.), over whom Lake Forest prevailed 13-12 last season in double overtime. The Red Devils had taken their last two contests with the Scouts by a combined score of 26-15.

"I'd love to once again beat Hinsdale Central," Levy said. "We beat them last year, and I just don't want them to think that was a fluke. I think we're going to beat them again. I know we're going to beat them again this year."

Levy also pointed to her team's tight double overtime victory over Oak Park-River Forest (Ill.) last season, noting that she looks forward to that rematch and winning that game "the right way." She mentioned Glenbrook South (Ill.) and Montini (Ill.) as other solid foes, yet more than anything, Levy is hoping that this is the year that her Scouts can take down the New Trier.

"My goal is to beat New Trier," Levy said.

"I think it's going to be a phenomenal year," Levy added. "Last year, we had a taste of what it's like being so close to the end, and they want to finish it this year. I think this is going to be it."

Still Snowed In

It's all Chicagoans have been talking about for the past couple of months, so readers will have to forgive yet another story regarding the Windy City's snowy deluge.

Unfortunately for the unfortunate inhabitants of America's upper reaches, the snow has been more than a cumbersome burden, ruining commutes and fueling the snowblower industry along the way; rather, it has been an absolute stop in the tracks for lacrosse players around the region. Take Julie Levy's Scouts, who have gone outside just a couple of times this year — to run.

"It's affected us. We haven't been acclimated to running outside," Levy said. "We have gone on a couple of team runs outside, but certainly obviously, field space, transitional game, going off the draw, clears, all of that has been affected by not being able to get outside at all at this point."

It has strained her team even more with all three levels of lacrosse — varsity, junior varsity and freshman — having to share the fieldhouse throughout the preseason. Levy estimated that her team has had the full fieldhouse to itself just once or twice thus far. And yet, at the end of the day, Levy isn't that worried, even as she faces the prospect of having her team's first time on turf come in an actual game.

"You deal with the circumstances you're given," Levy said. "If we play Lake Forest lacrosse, I don't think it matters where we practice."

Good In Goal

According to Lake Forest coach Julie Levy, junior goalkeeper Kallie Feldhaus is a supreme athlete.

"Kallie is a fantastic athlete all around the board," Levy said. "She is very smart back there. She's quick. She's very patient. She's a great leader. She sees the field great. She talks to the defense. She's a great communicator. I believe that Kallie is one of the best goalkeepers in Illinois."

And Feldhaus will remain just that, according to Levy. Sometimes, it's tempting to move a team's top athletes to the midfield, where they can run free. But Feldhaus has her place, a spot right in front of the cage that she has earned, through performances like she had against Montini in last year's supersectional when she stopped three eight-meter shots in the final 45 seconds to secure a one-goal victory.

Check back to LaxMagazine.com every other Wednesday throughout the high school season for updates to the Nike/US Lacrosse Regional Girls' Top 10 rankings and the Nike/US Lacrosse National Boys' Top 25.


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