Nike/US Lacrosse West Girls' Season Rewind
by Todd Karpovich| LaxMagazine.com
1. Amador Valley (Calif.), 20-1
2. Air Academy (Colo.), 17-2
3. Cherry Creek (Colo.), 12- 7
4. Lake Oswego (Ore.), 20-1
5. West Linn (Ore.), 17-2
6. St. Ignatius (Calif.), 11-7
7. Carondelet (Calif.), 13-4
8. Marin Catholic (Calif.) 22-3
9. Centaurus (Colo.), 16-2
10. Acalanes (Calif.), 16-6
West Player of the Year
Evan Murphy, Amador Valley (Calif.)
Evan Murphy of Amador Valley (Calif.) became hooked on lacrosse the moment she first picked up a stick when she was just a child.
Like many kids in California, Murphy began playing soccer at age five, but shortly afterward, she turned to lacrosse. Murphy loved the speed of the game and the high scoring. From there, she worked hard to become one of the state's top high school players.
Murphy led Amador Valley to a 22-1 record and the North Coast Section championship. The midfielder was named an US Lacrosse All-American, East Bay Athletic League MVP and scored two goals in the NCS Division I title game in the Dons' 8-6 victory over Carondelet (Calif.). She is also Lacrosse Magazine's West Coast Player of the Year.
"Amador had an amazing season this year," Murphy said. "We won the East Bay Athletic League, took the North Coast Section championship, and maintained our ranking as number one on the west coast. Personally, I feel I had a pretty good season as well."
Amador Valley coach Richard Murphy is also Murphy's father. He said she has developed into a complete player. Murphy finished with 65 goals and 36 assists this season. She was also Amador Valley's team MVP and a source of team leadership all season.
"While she is our most complete two-way midfielder, she is our best team defender," Richard Murphy said. "She's the glue that made our zone defense work. She's also a really good dodger on the offensive end, having mastered all the requisite dodges."
Murphy honed her skills with her club team, BearLax. She said Theresa Sherry, the founder of BearLax, was a mentor and that she and her teammates pushed each other every practice.
While she was heavily recruited by numerous colleges, including several Ivy League programs, Murphy chose Oregon. She was mostly attracted to the program's close-knit atmosphere.
"Oregon is an amazing place," Murphy said. "I loved the school spirit the school has towards athletics, especially because everyone is really into the sports teams at my high school. I also loved the coaches as soon as I met them. I really wanted to play somewhere where the team was like a family, and when I got onto the Oregon campus I could tell the team was very close."
The transition to college will be made easier because her Amador Valley teammate, Cambi Cukar, has also committed to the school. The two have been playing lacrosse together since third grade.
"Aside from playing together, having a best friend on campus will definitely make going to college out of state much easier," Murphy said.
This summer, Murphy plans to continue to work on all aspects of her game. She was knows the transition to the college game will be a challenge, but one she is prepared to meet.
"The college game is faster and more physical, so I know I have a lot of improving to do before I get there," Murphy said. "I also need to be in the best shape of my life in order to compete with the girls already there."
Spotlight On ...
|Eagle has become one of the top programs in Idaho in recent years, developing a rivalry with Boise in the process. (Courtesy Photo)|
Over the past three years, the Eagle (Idaho) girls' lacrosse teams has established itself as one of the premier programs in Idaho.
The Mustangs have won three state championships and compiled a 48-1 record. This season, the Mustangs averaged more than 15 points per game and allowed only an average of seven goals.
Eagle has a reputation for being able to move the ball well and score quickly, but coach Jon Craig said the team's defense is also as a part of its strength.
"The transition game is likely our biggest strength and key to our success," Craig said. "We work on our attackers being great defenders and applying pressure on all clears. Our middies are fast and we work on having the ladies in good field position to stop fast breaks or to quickly move the ball down the field. We have balanced scoring attacks, with several players being able to step up and provide scoring. We emphasize and celebrate hustle, great defense, and getting assists. Know and trust your teammates and do what you can to make them successful both on and off the field."
This year, Eagle avenged a regular season loss to rival Boise (Idaho) with a 12-8 victory in the title game. For the past couple of seasons, Eagle and Boise have been the top teams in Idaho so their games have naturally become a strong rivalry. The teams also know each other well, with several players playing together on travel teams.
"We felt the ladies played defensively well enough to win that first game but we did not own the transition game and were timid and predictable on our shooting," Craig said. "Our emphasis was on creating a sense of urgency, but not panic throughout the game and not just at the end. We spent quite a bit of time enhancing the variety of types of shots we would put on goal, so we would be less predictable and spread the field better."
Some of Eagle's players include McKenna "Stonewall" Sato, who was a three-year starter in goal. Charlotte Knuth and Kenedee Grieve (BYU) were defensive standouts with Kenedee scoring important goals as a middie. Alli Bingham (BYU) and Shannon Viehweg (BYU) also dominated the midfield. Ali Cammann was Eagle's most consistent key scorer and tough transition defender.
The team's success is emblematic how the sport has grown in the state.
"Both girls and boys lacrosse is really growing in Idaho," Craig said. "Many of our players still first experience the sport as freshmen in high school but girls are really excited about playing and we are seeing more participation at younger ages. Travel/club teams are growing, so the girls can play more games and see more competition as they are traveling more throughout the west."
2014 West Region Report Archive
- February 25 - Preseason Top 10/Player of the Year Watch List
- March 18
- March 25
- April 1
- April 8
- April 15
- April 22
- April 29
- May 6
- May 13
- May 20
- May 27
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