High School Girls

June 4, 2013

Nike/US Lacrosse Midwest Region Report

by Jonah Rosenblum | LaxMagazine.com

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

Top Performers

Samantha and Sydney Farwick, Upper Arlington (Ohio)

It's hard to pick a Farwick on this occasion. The twin sisters combined for nine of Upper Arlington's 14 goals in its state championship victory over Sycamore (Ohio). Each scored in the first 8:35 of the second half to help the Golden Bears pull away from the Aviators. While Samantha scored five and Sydney scored four in the state final, it was the other way around in Upper Arlington's 13-8 win over Jackson in the semifinals, in which Sydney led the way with five goals and Samantha placed second with four. In that contest, Sydney gave Upper Arlington the lead with two goals in a 27-second span while Samantha solidified it with two goals before halftime to give the Golden Bears an 8-4 lead heading into the break.

Katherine Eilers, Loyola Academy (Ill.)

The senior tallied four goals and two assists in Loyola Academy's 16-5 win over Montini Catholic in the Illinois state championship game. Eilers scored four goals and added two assists to help the Ramblers to their fifth consecutive state title.

Stephanie Schnelzer, Carmel (Ind.)

With the Greyhounds' attack struggling to find its usual rhythm in its state championship match against Culver Academy (Ind.), Schnelzer kept her team in the game by stopping 19 shots and holding the Eagles well under their scoring average. After holding Culver Academy to a single goal for 10 minutes, while her teammates rallied to tie the score at 8-8, Schnelzer finally surrendered the winning goal with 3:30 left to play. She displayed a little postgame confidence when she told Jason Haddix of The Indianapolis Star that "we are a fantastic team and we will get them next year." With the First-Team All-State goaltender in the cage, the Greyhounds certainly have as good a shot as anyone at downing the Eagles next year.

Games to Watch

Eden Prairie (Minn.) vs. Minnetonka (Minn.) — June 4

The Eagles have generally cruised through the state of Minnesota this season, but in their sectional championship match, they meet the one squad that has given them trouble all year. In late April, Eden Prairie prevailed 11-8 over Minnetonka on its home field. Two and a half weeks later, the Skippers nearly pulled off the upset, as the Eagles won 7-6. Now, Paige Gardiner (29 assists, 25 goals) and Ali Ridge (24 assists, 23 goals) look to lead Minnetonka past Emma Claire Fontenot (41 goals, 27 assists) and the Eden Prairie team that is responsible for two of the Skippers' four losses this season.

East Grand Rapids (Mich.) at Okemos (Mich.) — June 5

This is a rematch of the season opener held at East Grand Rapids, where the Pioneers emerged victorious in a defensive duel, 6-2. This time around, the Chieftains have home field advantage and momentum on their side. Okemos has steamrolled the opposition thus far in the state tournament, winning its first three games by a combined score of 49-16, while East Grand Rapids has eked out its last two wins. It has been more than two months since these two rivals last squared off — has enough time passed to lead to a different result?

1. Loyola Academy (Ill.), 23-3

Season Complete: The Ramblers ventured out of state early, losing three of their first seven to some of the top teams in the country. Their hard work paid off late in the season, when they easily ran through elite competition en route to a state championship. Loyola scored at least 15 goals in all five of its postseason contests, outscoring its opponents, 90-22.

2. Upper Arlington (Ohio), 16-2

Season Complete: The Golden Bears closed their 2013 campaign on a 10-game winning streak and with a state championship trophy in their hands. Their momentum showed in the postseason, in which they won each of their games by at least five goals. In the state championship, it was close early, but Upper Arlington scored seven of the game's final nine goals for the victory.

3. Sycamore (Ohio), 14-5

Season Complete: The first time the Aviators faced the Comets, they were lit up for 11 goals. They solved those problems in their second match-up, becoming the first team to beat Mason (Ohio), 10-5. They never were able to solve their issues against Upper Arlington, however, surrendering 26 goals in two games, including 14 in their loss to the Golden Bears in the state championship.

4. Mason (Ohio), 17-1

Season Complete: A spectacular comeback season for Paul Limpert's crew fell apart in a familiar place, as the Comets' historic troubles at Sycamore carried into the 2013 postseason. Still, a perfect regular season leaves Mason with plenty to build on, as it proved it is right there with the Buckeye State's elite, defeating Sycamore, Mariemont (Ohio) and New Albany (Ohio) during the regular season.

5. Eden Prairie (Minn.), 14-1

The Eagles undoubtedly caught the lacrosse world's eye with how tight they played Loyola Academy (Ill.) earlier this season and sweeping a three-game trip through Edina (Minn.), Minnetonka (Minn.) and Cretin-Derham Hall (Minn.) only added to the team's luster. The Skippers and the Blake School Bears have both challenged the Eagles, but the team remains perfect against in-state competition.

6. Montini Catholic (Ill.), 15-3

Season Complete: The Broncos did not emerge with a state championship, but they did emerge with something nearly as special — a rare victory over state powerhouse New Trier (Ill.). Blessed with a plethora of scorers, including Molly Marciniak, Sarah Lugo, Erin Steiner, Frankie Kamely, Fran Meyer, Meghan Harte and Mary Kate Condon, Montini Catholic came from behind to defeat New Trier 17-15 in the state semifinals.

7. New Trier (Ill.), 16-4-1

Season Complete: Led by a spectacular 72-goal campaign from Kelsey Murray, the Trevians won 11 of their last 12 and once again wound up among the state's elite. They beat Lake Forest (Ill.), Hinsdale Central (Ill.) and Glenbrook South (Ill.) during their final stretch, struggling only against Montini Catholic and Loyola Academy. By year's end, the state had a clear top trio, with New Trier a firm member.

8. East Grand Rapids (Mich.), 19-2

The Pioneers have won seven straight, but their last two did not come easy, as they edged Caledonia (Mich.) 13-11 and needed overtime to stave off Grand Rapids Catholic Central (Mich.) 14-13. Their next challenge will be even tougher as they travel to Okemos (Mich.) to take on the Chieftains, whom they defeated for their first win of the season.

9. Culver Academy (Ind.), 21-1

Season Complete: Three teams in the Hoosier State could boast of having six All-Regional players — Culver Academy, Brebeuf (Ind.) and Carmel (Ind.). The Eagles easily handled the Braves, winning their two matches by a combined score of 22-8, and they managed to defeat the Greyhounds twice as well — by a combined three goals.

10. Carmel (Ind.), 18-3

Season Complete: The Greyhounds' three losses came by a combined five goals. Otherwise, they were fairly spectacular, winning 11 of their last 12, and giving Culver Academy a real challenge in the postseason, falling to the Eagles by a single goal. Their schedule was packed with convincing wins over schools like Park Tudor (Ind.), Fishers (Ind.) and Brebeuf (Ind.), and they managed to persevere despite playing very few home games.

News and Notes

One Small Step for Montini, One Large Step for Illinois Lacrosse

For four of the past five years, it was New Trier and Loyola Academy in the state championship game. Some years, the Trevians won. Some years, the Ramblers won. One year, Hinsdale Central (Ill.) inserted itself into the equation, but for the most part, the power dynamic in Illinois remained the same.

In 2013, Montini Catholic challenged the long-standing equation with a 17-15 win in the state semifinals over New Trier. Though they fell in the final to Loyola Academy, just getting there was a big deal.

"First of all, it's great for the state of lacrosse in Illinois," Loyola coach John Dwyer said. "Hinsdale and Montini have done a great job of representing the western suburbs over the past couple of years, and Hinsdale for a long time representing the western suburbs, but for Montini to make a state championship is a big statement especially because New Trier was such a formidable opponent this year."

Paced by an unbelievable number of scoring weapons, the Broncos became known for their powerful attack.

"They have a very talented, athletic, fast team," Dwyer said.

But they were a far more complete team than that, according to Dwyer, who noted that the Broncos forced his team into interminably long possessions.

"We had a couple of very, very long possessions because the Montini defense played very well," Dwyer said. "The score didn't indicate that, but especially in the first half, their defense played very well. So, it's a credit to all of our offensive players. We took absolutely no bad shots that night."

As Dwyer said, perhaps the Broncos are a possession or two away from hanging tight in a state final. Leading by a few goals early on, Dwyer described a possession where the Ramblers held the ball for five minutes before finally putting one away. According to the Loyola coach, it was a turning point.

"We were looking to go to goal the whole time, but we just didn't have the shot we wanted," Dwyer said. "That was a little bit deflating [for them] because it was such a long possession. Likewise, if we hadn't scored, it would have been a huge boost for Montini and their defense."

Still, after all of these years of Loyola and New Trier, there's a new name in the mix, even if the Broncos remain several possessions away. At least, they were in the game.

A Deeper Look at Loyola's Grace Foley

No one has ever questioned Grace Foley's talent. She has received nearly every award imaginable, and if that isn't proof enough, she has committed to play college lacrosse at Georgetown.

No one will ever question her courage either, not after she came back from a dislocated shoulder against Libertyville (Ill.) in the super-sectional to help Loyola ward off Montini Catholic in the state championship.

According to coach John Dwyer, his star defender never doubted whether she would play.

"She pretty much said the night it happened that she would play in the state championship game," Dwyer said. "We weren't really sure that that was the case, but she took care of everything very diligently and she came back and played."

She played a key role in the Ramblers holding a previously red-hot Broncos' offense to just five goals.

"It made a real difference," Dwyer said. "It had a very steady influence, a very calming influence, and she played with reckless abandon like she had never been injured. She had arguably one of the best games of her career."

And with their leader intact and in play, her defense rose to the occasion.

"We were really comfortable with any one of those girls covering any one of the Montini players one on one," Dwyer said, "but we also did a very good job of doubling and sliding and compensating for their speed a little bit. They didn't really get as many great chances as I've seen them get in other games."

Note: The Nike/US Lacrosse Regional rankings will not necessarily reflect the same order as the Nike/US Lacrosse National Top 25 poll, which is voted on by US Lacrosse area representatives and Lacrosse Magazine contributors. LM contributors compile the regional rankings.

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 Girls' Top 25.

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