High School Girls

February 28, 2013

Nike/US Lacrosse South Region Preseason Girls' Top 10

Despite losing seven starters to graduation, Georgia's top team is in good hands with USC-bound attacker Annie Ruland.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com | Related: National Top 25

1. Vero Beach (Fla.)

Though just six starters return, the seven-time state champs have reloaded with an even stronger group of field players, starting with junior Katy Pridemore (Florida) and seniors Allie Modica (Connecticut) and Meredith Baker (Cornell).

2. Milton (Ga.)

Milton remains the top team in Georgia with nine players going D-I and a ton of team speed. Coming off their seventh state title in eight years, the Eagles boast All-American attackers Lydia Cassada (Northwestern) and Annie Ruland (USC).

3. St. John's (Texas)

The Mavericks went 17-4 and beat all the best teams in Texas — except one, falling short against Hockaday in overtime of the state final. Seven starters, including midfielders Amanda Leavell (Princeton) and Robby Rybarczyk (Northwestern), return.

4. Barron Collier (Fla.)

The Cougars are on the rise in Florida. They were 18-2 last year but ran into Vero Beach in the first round of state playoffs. Sophomore midfielder Olivia Ferrucci, who committed to North Carolina last year, is the top returner.

5. Lassiter (Ga.)

The Trojans added depth and speed, which will allow coach Faith Harmeyer the flexibility to adjust her lineup and provide opponents with different looks. Lassiter, led by All-American senior midfielder Johnna Fusco, went 14-5 in 2012.

6. Winter Springs (Fla.)

Despite a stunning playoff loss to Bishop Moore and losing South Region Player of the Year Kris Coppolino, Winter Springs looks solid with attacker Anne L'Heureux (Louisville) and her sister Sarah L'Heureux, who will return from a knee injury.

7. Hockaday (Texas)

Hockaday edged St. John's in overtime to win its third state title in five years, but lost its lone All-American with in Maggie Fobare, who scored 306 goals in her high school career and now plays at Northwestern.

8. Westminster (Ga.)

The three-time defending Georgia 4A-A champ Wildcats will be younger but more athletic. Several talented freshmen and sophomores will fill significant roles on a team that went 20-2 last year with losses only to Lassiter and Victor (N.Y.).

9. Green Hope (N.C.)

The Falcons return nearly everyone from a team went 21-0 and won its third state title. Among them are All-Americans Katherine Smith, Maggie Auslander (North Carolina) and Julie Hagan. There will be a new coaching staff, however.

10. Hutchison School (Tenn.)

The two-time state champ's only loss last year was to St. Stephen's & St Agnes (Va.). Hutchison, which must rebuild on defense, can prove itself this season against Milton and Lassiter.

Check back to LaxMagazine.com on Wednesdays throughout the high school season for updates to the Nike/US Lacrosse Regional Top 10 rankings and the Nike/US Lacrosse National Top 25.

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