Nike/US Lacrosse South Girls' Region Report
by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com
Player of the Week
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Griffin Gearhardt, Hutchison (Tenn.)
Through two games, the freshman leads the Sting in points with seven goals and five assists. Gearhardt is a nice addition to a deep roster that graduated five players, and should continue to make an impact even as the competition heats up. She brings athleticism from experience playing basketball for Hutchison, which finished its season Feb. 14 in the regional tournament, and lacrosse runs in the family — her sister, Johns Hopkins signee Loring Gearhardt, also is on the team, and their father, David Gearhardt, is an assistant.
Also of note: Katy Pridemore (Vero Beach, Fla.), Olivia Ferrucci (Barron Collier, Fla.), Alex Fusco (Lassiter, Ga.)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Hutchison (Tenn.) at St. John’s (Texas)
March 7, 3 p.m. at St. John’s School, Houston
Hutchison is traveling West to play three games against Texas competition. This is its second game on the three-day trip, and both teams should know a lot more about themselves by the end of play. Hutchison is a three-time defending state champion in Tennessee, and St. John’s is the defending Texas state champion with nine titles overall. Both teams return the bulk of their starting lineups from last season, so it should be a competitive game. Hutchison also plays a matchup of note at Lamar (Texas) on March 8.
South Region Top 10
1. Milton (Ga.), 2-0: It was no surprise the eight-time state champion Eagles coasted through their first two games, beating in-state opponents Cherokee (Ga.) and Etowah (Ga.) by a combined score of 44-0. Twelve players scored against Etowah, and 10 of 21 goals were assisted.
2. Vero Beach (Fla.), 5-0: The Fighting Indians, winners of eight consecutive state finals, pushed their in-state win streak to 116 games with a 19-6 win over Bartram Trail (Fla.) in a rematch of last year's championship Saturday. That win was followed by another quality victory over Ponte Vedra (Fla.).
3. St. John's (Texas), 2-0: The Mavericks struggled a little in a 15-13 win over Coppell (Texas) on Saturday, but remain the team to beat in Texas. With seven returning starters from last year's perfect season against in-state competition, they are favored to win a ninth state title.
4. Hutchison (Tenn.), 2-0: The three-time defending state champion Sting has won 22-straight games with the help of two dominant performances to open the season. Hutchison outscored St. Benedict (Tenn.) and Briarcrest (Tenn.) 37-1 and now heads to Texas for three games.
5. Benjamin (Fla.), 3-1: Aside from a 13-5 loss to Vero Beach, the Buccaneers are dominating as expected. In the Buccaneers' latest 18-0 win over Dwyer (Fla.), Hayley Ciklin had four assists and two goals, while Maria Dattolo added three assists and two goals.
6. Lassiter (Ga.), 2-0: The Trojans rolled through their first two Georgia opponents, beating Cherokee (Ga.) 25-3 and Mill Creek (Ga.) 18-7. Alex Fusco leads the team with seven goals and two assists, and Cydney Tutchton has 11 draw controls, four goals and two assists.
7. Walton (Ga.), 2-0-1: The Raiders climb a couple spots, earning some points from a 21-4 season-opener win over Episcopal Houston (Texas) and 12-12 overtime tie at Lamar (Texas). Walton breezed through its first Georgia opponent, beating Cherokee 25-1.
8. Lamar (Texas), 2-0-1: The Redskins are off to a solid start with wins over the Woodlands (Texas) and Coppell. They tied Walton 12-12 in overtime. Lamar is led by Northwestern signee/defender Lyndsey Laffite and William & Mary-bound midfielder McKinley Wade.
9. Barron Collier (Fla.), 4-0: The Cougars haven't faced much competition yet, but seem to be doing just fine despite graduating the vast majority of the starting lineup. North Carolina signee Olivia Ferrucci had nine goals and four assists combined in wins over Naples (Fla.) and Immokalee (Fla.).
10. Westminster (Ga.), 3-0: The Wildcats are a young team with a lot of potential, but they're doing well so far — averaging 20.6 goals a game, while allowing no more than four goals in any game. Westminster plays a challenging schedule with out-of-state opponents like Radnor (Pa.).
Walton (Ga.) traveled out of state for three games against Texas opponents, opening with a 22-11 exhibition win over Cy-Fair. The Raiders then followed with a rout of Episcopal Houston (Texas) before finishing the trip with an overtime tie against Lamar.
Vero Beach (Fla.) had to postpone its Feb. 22 game against Lake Brantley (Fla.) because of weather, but must make it up later this season in order to meet the Florida High School Athletic Association's rule requiring 60 percent of the schedule to be played against in-state competition. The Fighting Indians had their state title stripped in 2009 for breaking that rule. Vero Beach coach Shannon Dean said the schools still are having trouble agreeing on a date and location for a makeup game.
Speaking of Vero Beach, standout midfielder/attacker Katy Pridemore is off to an impressive start to her senior season. She had six goals and two assists in a win over Ponte Vedra in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday and added another four goals in Game 2 against Bartram Trail.
Milton (Ga.) hasn't been scored on in two games – a credit to its defense and success on draws. The Eagles had 18 draw controls in their opener against Etowah (Ga.) and forced 10 turnovers.
Ursuline (Texas) had a game canceled Saturday because of a construction crane hanging over the field.
In addition to Gearhardt's strong start for Hutchison (Tenn.), senior Chloe Duke is contributing in different ways, while several players are rotating in and out of the lineup. Duke has 10 draw controls and seven ground balls as an attacker, through two games.