High School Girls

April 9, 2013

Nike/US Lacrosse Midwest Region Report

by Jonah Rosenblum | LaxMagazine.com

Related: National Top 25 | Northeast | Mid-Atlantic | South | West

Top Performers

Kelsey Murray, New Trier (Ill.)

The Trevians star put forth a dominant – no, a record-setting – performance against Deerfield, notching two ground balls and a school-record 14 points in New Trier's easy 21-3 victory.

Claire Ludlow, East Grand Rapids (Mich.)

Everyone expected Ludlow to be a star this season, and she didn't disappoint in the Pioneers' opener – scoring three goals against Okemos (Mich.), which East Grand Rapids beat in last year's state title match. Ludlow seems to enjoy playing the Chieftains; she notched four goals against them in last season's grand finale.

Syd Farwick, Upper Arlington (Ohio)

The Golden Bears senior midfielder was the only member of her squad to make the All-Tournament Team at the Dogwood Classic. She scored eight goals in three games to make the team.

Games to Watch

Loyola Academy (Ill.) at Montini Catholic (Ill.) – April 10

The Broncos have been serving notice to the Land of Lincoln that they are a significant part of the state's lacrosse landscape – just take Saturday's 24-1 destruction of Evanston Township (Ill.) – and that was a Wildkits team that was previously undefeated. Whether or not Montini Catholic is capable of joining the state's elite will be seen on Wednesday.

Sycamore (Ohio) at Medina (Ohio) – April 13

Medina edged Sycamore twice last season, winning 8-7 in overtime and 10-8. The Aviators seek their first win over the Battling Bees since 2009. Sycamore has looked good thus far, downing a decent Glenbrook South (Ill.) team, 13-6.

Loyola Academy (Ill.), 5-3

The Ramblers piled up three losses in the past couple of weeks. Fortunately for Loyola Academy, their losses were more than respectable – a four-goal loss to undefeated third-ranked Georgetown Visitation (D.C.), a four-goal loss to then-No. 14 Good Counsel (Md.) and a two-goal loss to the defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion, Holy Cross (Md.). Meanwhile, the Ramblers were able to defeat a southern power in Milton (Ga.). So, the Ramblers remain a little behind when it comes to the East Coast – but everywhere else, they remain superior.

New Trier (Ill.), 3-2-1

The Trevians have been dominant in-state and somewhat competitive out-of-state. Against Land of Lincoln foes, the Trevians have dominated the scoreboard, 37-6. They were doubled up by undefeated No. 2 St. Stephen's & Agnes (Va.) and No. 14 Good Counsel (Md.), however. Against Lassiter, one of the Peach State's strongest teams, New Trier was competitive, forcing a 15-15 tie in overtime. Soon, the Trevians will have a chance to try their hand with a real in-state test in Lake Forest.

Lake Forest (Ill.), 2-0

Unlike the Scouts' in-state rivals, they have gotten few games in thus far, and absolutely none against elite competition. Will that hurt them in the long run? We shall see, but in the meanwhile, they have absolutely clobbered their first two foes, downing Vernon Hills (Ill.) 20-2 and Lake Forest Academy (Ill.) 16-0. The Scouts will be tested with a pretty rough five-game stretch, which includes games against two highly competitive Great Lakes State foes in Ann Arbor Pioneer and Caledonia, and two strong Land of Lincoln foes in Lyons Township and Hinsdale Central.

Culver Academy (Ind.), 1-0

The Eagles won their first contest against a nominally competitive Cathedral (Ind.) squad, which had previously edged a decent Guerin Catholic (Ind.) team by a single goal. Don't expect Culver Academy to lose one for a while. They downed their next three foes – Penn (Ind.), Noblesville (Ind.) and Brebeuf Jesuit Academy (Ind.) – by a combined score of 50-7 last season. Expect the Eagles to sail until their contest against Carmel (Ind.), which they split a pair of decisions against last season.

East Grand Rapids (Mich.), 1-0

The Pioneers began on a high note, defending their state title by downing last year's runners up, Okemos, 6-2. Coach Rich Axtel extolled his goaltender's performance afterwards, and rightly so – records indicate that it was Okemos' lowest goal total in a game since 2005. They'll need to be at their best given their upcoming schedule, which includes contests against Loyola Academy (Ill.) and Rockford (Mich.).

Upper Arlington (Ohio), 2-1

The Golden Bears fared decently against a handful of southern teams at the Dogwood Classic. They defeated Woodward Academy (Ga.), handing the War Eagles their second defeat of the season, lost to a Walton team that ended up tying for the title by five goals and ended with a convincing 20-8 victory over Kennesaw Mountain (Ga.). The Golden Bears now return to the Buckeye State, where Worthington Kilbourne and Sycamore, both undefeated, await them.

Mason (Ohio), 6-0

The Comets lost six of their first eight games in 2012. This season, they've won their first six, including a 14-13 overtime win over New Albany (Ohio). Perhaps no win was more important than their victory over the Eagles given the number of close defeats they suffered in 2012. The question is whether Mason, which has to play undefeated Kentucky Country Day (Ky.), Summit CDS (Ohio) and Sycamore (Ohio) in the coming week, can avoid the type of four-game losing streak that derailed it last season.

Blake School (Minn.), 0-0

With temperatures dropping down into the thirties this week in Minneapolis, it's a good thing the Bears are standing pat for a little while. It's supposed to warm up to a positively tropic 43 degrees by Friday, when Blake School opens up its 2013 schedule against Cretin-Derham Hall (Minn.). As cold as the weather might be, the Bears' opening slate is red hot, especially given that Cretin-Derham Hall came within three goals of the Blake School last year – and Lakeville North (Minn.) came just one goal short.

Sycamore (Ohio), 1-0

The Aviators face an immediate challenge on Friday, when they take on an Upper Arlington team that they lost to by nine goals last season. Sycamore, which started out last season with a 10-1-1 record before struggling a little bit offensively toward the end of the year, has to be encouraged by its 13-goal effort against a defensively stout Glenbrook South (Ill.) team in its opener. The Aviators reached double-digit scoring in just two of their last five games in 2012.

10. Medina (Ohio), 0-0

The Battling Bees haven't done much battling as of yet. They finally start play on Thursday with a contest against winless Magnificat (Ohio), which won't give them much preparation for a huge Saturday doubleheader against Worthington Kilbourne (Ohio) and Sycamore (Ohio). The Battling Bees won 12 of 19 games last year by at least six goals. Of the seven games that truly challenged Medina, two came against Upper Arlington and two came against Sycamore. The Battling Bees will undoubtedly be challenged.

News and Notes

Time To Fly

Michelle Sebastian has a lot of talent at Montini Catholic (Ill.) – how it came together is a more interesting story perhaps.

There was already midfielder Fran Meyer, who will play for Marquette next year. There was Sarah Lugo, who is playing for Michigan next year. Then there was a dynamic pair of transfers in Francesca LoVerde (New Hampshire) and Frankie Kamely (Loyola Maryland).

For Kamely, she had been playing boys' lacrosse but, according to Sebastian, her mother quickly became concerned about the physical nature of the boys' game.

"Frankie is probably a buck ten soaking wet and playing boys' lacrosse just wasn't in her future," Sebastian said. "She played a couple of games where the other side of guys were like, 'Let's go get the girl,' that type of thing. It wasn't very gentlemanly. She knew she couldn't play anymore. Her mother had kind of laid down the law."

As it turned out, Kamely also came to embrace being at a smaller school like Montini Catholic, according to her coach.

"Frankie, I would say she didn't realize how kind of unhappy she was until she made the move," Sebastian said. "She really likes being at a smaller kind of academic minded school. She's flourishing much more as a student."

And she flourished on the field too.

"She is just a prodigy," Sebastian said. "She just took to it like you wouldn't believe. I don't think anyone would believe looking at her that she has been playing for two and a half years."

Kamely, who knew LoVerde from their time together at Lake Shore Lacrosse, was able to convince LoVerde to come join her.

"[Francesca] said, 'I can only be happier than I am now. I'm going to make the switch. I'm going to get a good education and I think this is going to help me,'" Sebastian said.

Now, Sebastian is trying to get her diverse crew of athletes to embrace an opportunity to compete for a state title. Thus far, Montini Catholic is 4-0, heading into a key contest against Loyola Academy, which thrashed the Broncos last season.

"It's a critical juncture," Sebastian said. "We told the girls today that we think that they have every reason to think they should be vying for a state championship this year."

Check back to LaxMagazine.com every other Tuesday throughout the high school season for updates to the Nike/US Lacrosse Regional Girls' Top 10 rankings and the Nike/US Lacrosse National Boys' Top 25.

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