High School Girls

April 4, 2012

South Girls' Regional Report

by Robbie Levin | LaxMagazine.com

Top Performers

MacKenzie Smith, Vero Beach (Fla.)
With Vero Beach knotted up against Sts. Stephen's & Agnes with less than three minutes remaining, the Fighting Indians were on the verge of an unthinkable second consecutive loss for the first time since April 2007. Not to worry, as Smith tallied her fifth goal of the evening with 2:48 remaining, willing Vero Beach to a 12-11 victory.

Annie Ruland, Milton (Ga.)
The Eagles faced their stiffest test of the season in Vero Beach (Fla.), and Ruland was a big reason why Milton remained close until the final whistle. Ruland's nine points (one goal, eight assists) helped Milton erase a five-goal deficit in the second half. The Southern California signee was part of a balanced attack against Vero Beach, as seven players scored for Milton.

Kris Coppolino, Winter Springs (Fla.)
Despite plentiful defensive attention, Coppolino is still having a productive season for undefeated Winter Springs. The UMBC commit led the Bears with six goals and four assists against Bishop Moore (Fla.).

"She's extremely fast, probably one of the fastest kids I've ever coached," coach Steve Elfand said. "She's picked up more double teams and faceguards than any player we've ever had."

Games to Watch

Cy-Fair (Texas) at St. Johns (Texas)
April 5, 6:30 p.m.
Don't expect this one to be a high-scoring affair, as Cy-Fair and goalie Natalie Weitkunat match up against St. John's shut-down defense. The Mavericks' attack, which coach Angie Kensinger called one of the most balanced in recent years, will have its work cut out for it against Weitkunat.

"[Weitkunat] is left-handed, very quick and has lots of experience," Kensinger said. "Definitely one of the dominant goalies in the state."

Winter Springs (Fla.) at Lake Brantley (Fla.)
April 9, 7 p.m.
Lake Brantley may have home-field advantage, but Winter Springs has the edge in just about every other category. The Bears, who have scored at least 16 goals in all but one of their games, are led by junior Anne L'Heureaux. The Louisville commit recorded 109 goals as a sophomore and is already above 80 this year.

St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) at St. John's (Texas)
April 13, 4 p.m.
The Mavericks have one more chance to prove themselves against an out-of-state foe before concluding their regular season against Memorial (Texas). St. Ignatius and St. John's last met in 2004 in a game that Ignatius dominated.

"California and Texas teams are known for athleticism and speed," Kensinger said. "It'll be fun to see how we match up eight years later."

1. Vero Beach (Fla.), 12-1
The Fighting Indians got back on track after McDonogh (Md.) ended their 69-game winning streak. Vero Beach notched a trio of impressive out-of-state wins over Sts. Stephen's & Agnes (D.C.), Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) and Milton (Ga.).

2. Winter Springs (Fla.), 15-0
The Bears have aced their early tests with flying colors: victories over Lake Highland (Fla.), Lassiter (Ga.), St. John's (Texas), Hockaday (Texas) and Oviedo (Fla.) have each come by four goals or more. Perhaps most impressive is that the Bears are having their best season in recent memory while starting three freshmen and three sophomores.

3. Milton (Ga.), 9-1
The Eagles returned every starter from last year's state championship squad, and their veteran presence has shown in tight games against elite out-of-state competition. Milton lost by two to Vero Beach but responded with a one-goal win over Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) two days later.

This after the Eagles won each of their first seven games by at least 11 goals.

"You've got to learn how to win close games," coach Tim Godby said. "We were in a close game against Vero, we had opportunities and came up short. We were in a close game against Carroll, we had opportunities and capitalized."

4. Bishop Moore (Fla.), 11-3
After going unranked to start the year, the Hornets have proved they belong among the region's finest. Bishop Moore stumbled last weekend, losing two straight and giving up a combined 28 goals to Conestoga (Pa.) and Winter Springs (Fla.), but if the Hornets can get back on track they'll be a force in the playoffs.

5. St. John's (Texas), 8-2
Despite a pair of losses to regional powers Winter Springs (Fla.) and Bishop Moore (Fla.), the Mavericks have held serve against teams from the Lone Star State. Alexa Mullins and St. John's rock solid defense have held Texas opponents to an average of five goals per game.

6. Lassiter (Ga.), 9-2
The Trojans have responded nicely after a heartbreaking loss to Roswell (Ga.) in the playoffs last year. Lassiter, which has recorded impressive out-of-state wins over Lake Brantley (Fla.) and Hockaday (Texas), has a backloaded schedule that ends with Georgia's Walton, Westminster, Kell and Milton.

7. Cy-Fair (Texas), 9-1
If any team can stop St. John's (Texas), it's Cy-Fair. The Iron Maidens boast one of the best in the state in goalie Natalie Weitkunat, but this week's contest will hinge on whether Cy-Fair can crack St. John's sturdy defense.

8. Lake Brantley (Fla.), 9-4
The Patriots have taken care of business against lesser opponents but have struggled to record a marquee win. Lake Brantley has that opportunity on April 9, when the Patriots take on Winter Springs at home.

9. Westminster (Ga.), 10-0
The Wildcats' undefeated mark is slightly deceiving, as half of their wins have come over teams who are .500 or below. Still the A-4A favorites, Westminsters' toughest test of the season comes on April 21 against Lassiter (Ga.).

10. Green Hope (N.C.), 9-0
The Falcons have taken over as North Carolina's top team with wins over state foes Apex and Cardinal Gibbons. It's hard to judge Green Hope against other elite Southern teams because the Falcons do not have any out-of-state competition. But if Green Hope takes down Apex when the squads meet again on April 20, there should be no doubt as to who reigns in the Tar Heel State.

News and Notes

No. 3 Milton (Ga.) came closer to beating No. 1 Vero Beach (Fla.) this year than it had in its last four meetings with the Fighting Indians. Still, with the game tied at 13 late in the second half, the Eagles could not find a way to score. "They're a very physical team," Milton coach Tim Godby said of Vero Beach. "So it's a kind of a different style of play that teams are not used to playing against."... No. 2 Winter Springs (Fla.) coach Steve Elfand said Vero Beach is "the measuring stick" for Florida programs, and while the Bears and the Fighting Indians couldn't schedule a game this year, Elfand is hoping to get a shot at Vero Beach in the state championship. ... Vero Beach's loss to McDonogh (Md.) was its first defeat since 2009. The last time the Fighting Indians lost to a team from Florida was a 7-6 defeat at the hands of Lake Brantley (Fla.) on Feb. 16, 2007.

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