From- Dave Allen, Marin Independent Journal
The most recent Lacrosse Magazine high school girls Western United States top 10 tells a good story about the state of the sport in Marin.
The St. Ignatius girls of San Francisco, a team with five key members commuting from the county, is No. 1. Novato, which swept through East Bay powers in last year’s North Coast Section playoffs to win Marin’s first girls Division I title, is ranked No. 2 with nearly everyone back from 2015’s 22-3 squad.
On the boys side, Marin Catholic is reloaded after sweeping MCAL regular-season, league playoff and the NCS D-II tournament titles. The Redwood and Marin Academy boys teams have championship goals as well.
The Marin Catholic girls expect to be a force again this year, while the Wildcats rivals at Redwood try to push into the conversation about top Marin teams. With girls soccer moving from the spring season to winter during this school year, new teams at Branson (an MCAL member) and Marin Academy (with SF’s University as part of the new Bay Counties League West) are catching up fast.
Youth leagues across the county fed experienced talent to every high school program this year, meaning competition is up and the stakes are higher than ever.
GIRLS: Current record — 1-1, 0-0 MCAL. The first-year program is up and running with coach Mason Day and nearly 35 interested students. The Bulls have many players new to the game, including three starters. Day says athleticism from participation in other sports is translating well. Top seniors include Lizzie Reeves (attack) and Katie Madden (defense). Junior Clare Sackson is a stalwart on defense. Sophomores Nye Day (midfielder) and Tess Woodlief (goalie) are talents the program can build on. The strong freshmen class includes Grace Carroll (midfielder), Samantha Stovell (attack), Sarah Flynn (attack) and Anna Dworetzky (midfielder). “We have some girls with good club experience, but a lot of them are new to the game,” coach Day said. “These are good athletes that need stick skills. I can work with that.”
GIRLS: Current record — 2-4, 0-1 MCAL. Losing just two seniors from a team that lost a play-in game for the league playoffs last year, the Pirates are back with the goal to “get better every day,” according to coach John Zerbe. Seniors Emma Fredricks (defense), Adrienne Barberich (attack), Maddie Sagebiel (midfielder) and Amelia Buckley (middie) are captains. Mia Pengally and Georgia Scott all rack up stats, while freshmen Allie Korst (defense/middie) and Ruby Tcherapanova (goalie) make for a bright future. “We’re as talented as any Drake team has ever been,” Zerbe said.
GIRLS: Current record — 3-3, 1-0 MCAL. Justin advanced to the MCAL playoffs as well as the NCS D-II tournament last year. Under new coach Noelle MacDougall, the Braves are looking for a repeat performance. Top players include seniors McKenzie Amalar (attack) and Sheila Campbell (defense), as well as junior midfielders Sarah Ryan, Hunter Wilkinson and Bella Lombardi.
GIRLS: Current record — 2-2, 1-0 MCAL. After several consecutive years winning the league, the Wildcats find themselves underdogs to Novato after slipping to third last year. Three seniors are signed to play for NCAA Division I programs next year as Caitlin McCarthy (Cal), Kate Graham (UC Davis) and Ashley Hill (USC) lead the way. Junior Cait Burnham has a verbal commitment to play at University of Colorado. Graham and Hill lead the attack effort. McCarthy and Burnham hold down the midfield. Junior Kiernan Byrne anchors the defense. Goalies Tessa Campbell and Samantha Horan return. Top newcomers include junior Katrina Murray, along with freshmen Isabella Lachman, Maggie Livermore and Molly Phelan. “Our focus will be on the little things every day,” coach Rob Salmon wrote in an email. “We will let the big things take care of themselves.”
GIRLS: Current record — 3-0, 1-0 MCAL. Coach Rory Daly boasts a talented roster that pulled off league regular-season, playoff and NCS D-I titles last year. Most of the top players return, including captains Reily Bolton (senior, attack), Jensen Neff (senior, midfielder) and Allie Level (junior, middie). Neff, who signed to play at Stanford next year, is “a huge positive influence on everybody,” according to Daly. Sophomore Charlie Rudy pours in goals from the attack position, while fellow sophomore Annie Dalton is a standout on defense. Sophomore midfielder Jamie Level continues to “do all the little things,” Daly said. Freshmen Emily Hamilton (defense) and Mia Lawrence (attack) prove that the future of the program is strong. “We have big goals, but we try to keep it a fun atmosphere,” Daly said. “We welcome every challenge.”
GIRLS: Current record — 1-2, 0-1 MCAL. Boasting a veteran team that advanced to the league final last year, the Giants are hoping to challenge for top two in MCALs once again. Captains include junior Neeve Kennedy (attack), as well as seniors Kendra Loo (attack/midfield) and Hayden Dean (middie). “Hayden is fantastic everywhere on the field,” coach Isaac Campbell said. “Neeve is solid on attack. She can really score.” Senior Carli Jacks is a top defender joined by starting goalie Layla Dunne (junior). Campbell said freshman Amanda Morse is making an impact on the defense so far.
GIRLS: Current record – 2-1, 0-1 MCAL. With a strong group of senior captains at midfield and attack alongside a promising group of freshman starting at defense, the Mustangs look to improve on a season that saw San Marin make the MCAL playoffs after a dramatic win over Drake in a play-in game. Senior captains Savannah Brown, Kiana Escandon-Capanna, Jenna Tooley and Cristan Ruberto lead the way for first-year coach Nelson Richardson. Junior Olivia Tippett and freshman Alea Escandon-Capanna are key in the midfield. Freshman Caitlin Dywer, Sophia Leland, Kristianna Coffey and Elizabeth Posylkin bring start on defense. “We want to improve every week,” said Richardson, a youth coach whose daughter Jenna is a freshman on the team. “If we focus on that, hopefully when the playoffs come around we will be in position to make them.”
GIRLS: Current record — 1-2, 0-0 MCAL. Senior captain Sam Garrett is joined by junior co-captains Lucky Schulman (midfielder) and Emma Blackburn (low attack). The Red-tailed Hawks get good draw-control play from Raven Twinling (sophomore, center midfielder). Senior Madeline Morgan is strong in goal. “The team seems to be taking to some of the guidance from guest coaches and clinics,” coach Natalie Butler said. “It’s been positive so far.”
OUTSIDE THE MCAL
GIRLS: Current record – 4-2, 0-0 BCL West. Whitney Hanley, who built the Marin Catholic program from scratch 15 years ago, returns to high school coaching to start up the program at Marin Academy. The Wildcats hit the ground running with a four-game win streak following a loss in their first game. “The team has found immediate success. We are accepting and overcoming new challenges,” Hanley said. “The has come together way more quickly than anyone could have predicted.” Senior leadership from captains Cassis Schafer (midfielder), Dorothy Goldstein-Stahl (middie) and Nora Birch (defense) is balanced by freshman contributions from Jordan Paff (defense), Kathleen Winnick (middie) and Parker Hanley (attack).
GIRLS: Current record — 3-0, 1-0 WCAL. The top team in the Western U.S. according to Lacrosse Magazine includes several top players from Marin. Tiburon’s Sophie Kamanski is a senior captain at midfield. Emma Knaus from Ross is a returning All-American and three-year starter as a junior attacking midfielder. Knaus has a verbal commitment to play at Stanford. Anna Clark of Greenbrae is a returning starter as a sophomore. Avery Priest from Belvedere is a goalie on the squad. Elizabeth Benham is a junior midfielder from Kentfield.
GIRLS: Current record — 5-2, 0-0 BCL West. University moves out of the MCAL and is the favorite in the new Bay Counties League West. Rachel Wu, a junior midfielder from Tiburon, is the leading scorer. Marin resident Margot Young is a junior low attacker who starts. Tiburon’s Bella Cruz is s freshman low defender starting on varsity. Larkspur sophomore Katie Larson is making an impact, according to coach Lisa Schaaf. Freshman Micherice Tao, a goalie from Tiburon, has stepped in to fill a hole as the starter.