High School Girls

May 6, 2014

Nike/US Lacrosse South Girls' Report

by Laurel Pfahler | LaxMagazine.com

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

Player of the Week

Allison McDonough, Vero Beach (Fla.)

The junior held tough in the Fighting Indians state championship win over Ponte Vedra, recording 15 saves to secure a 13-6 victory. McDonough, who was tested by some of the best teams in the country during the regular season, entered the state tournament with a 51 percent save rate and led a defense that allowed 6.25 goals per game – just 4.2 goals per game against Florida competition. McDonough is committed to Detroit-Mercy.

Also Notable: Toby Folk, Lamar (Texas); Olivia Ferrucci, Barron Collier (Fla.); Jessi Masinko, Milton (Ga.); Griffin Gearhardt, Hutchison (Tenn.); Emily Wechsler, Hockaday (Texas)

Game of the Week

Hutchison (Tenn.) vs. Ensworth (Tenn.), May 9

This is a rematch of a game the Sting won 16-10 earlier this season, and it marks the third straight year the teams have met in the Final Four. Hutchison beat Ensworth 20-8 in the 2012 championship game, but Ensworth played a much closer game in last year's final, losing 12-6 as the Sting won their third straight title. The Tigers were 9-4 during the regular season with losses to Hutchison, Franklin (Tenn.), Lassiter (Ga.), and Harpeth Hall (Tenn.), but the latter two each were decided by one just goal and the Franklin game was 12-9 in the season opener. No team in Tennessee has beaten Hutchison since 2010.

South Region Top 10

1. Vero Beach (Fla.), 21-3
The Fighting Indians won their ninth straight state final over the weekend, beating Ponte Vedra (Fla.) 13-6 for their 128th consecutive victory over a Florida opponent. Goalkeeper Allison McDonough played one of her best games of the season, finishing with 15 saves, and Katy Pridemore paced the offense with three goals and two assists. Vero Beach topped Barron Collier 15-9 in the semifinals and also beat Benjamin last week, 13-3 in the third round of state play-in games.

2. Milton (Ga.), 14-3
The Eagles concluded their regular season with a 14-10 win over Lassiter (Ga.) in a rematch of last year's state final. Milton took a 6-5 lead into halftime and pulled away midway through the second half. Jessi Masinko led the Eagles with three goals, three assists and one interception. Milton, winners of eight state titles, including four straight, opens the playoffs Wednesday against Hillgrove (Ga.).

3. Hutchison (Tenn.), 20-0
The Sting breezed through the first two rounds of the state tournament, beating Cookeville (Tenn.) 23-0 in the Sweet 16 and Ravenwood (Tenn.) 18-7 in the Elite Eight last week. Freshman Griffin Gearhardt totaled eight goals and eight assists over the two games. Hutchison now has won 40 straight games and 62 consecutive games against Tennessee opponents. The Sting hosts the Final Four this weekend, meeting Ensworth (Tenn.) in the semifinals Friday.

4. Lassiter (Ga.), 15-3
The Trojans raced to a 3-0 lead over Milton (Ga.) in the first five minutes of their regular-season finale last week, but gave up five straight goals and couldn't recover in a 14-10 loss to determine the Area 2 champion. Mary Carter Putman led Lassiter with three goals, and Cara Anderson finished with seven saves in goal. The Trojans open the postseason at home against Newman.

5. Walton (Ga.), 11-6-1
The Raiders had the week off to recover from a battle with Lassiter (Ga.) – a game the Trojans won 10-9 – before heading into the playoffs. They face Kennesaw Mountain (Ga.) in the first round Wednesday but should be well-prepared after a challenging regular-season schedule.

6. Ponte Vedra (Fla.), 19-4
The Sharks gave Vero Beach a good game in the FHSAA state championship Sunday, but couldn't finish their shots in a 13-6 loss. Ponte Vedra trailed 6-3 at halftime, but gave up three straight goals to open the second half and never got any closer. Taylor Kimes finished with 18 saves. The Sharks had beaten Olympia (Fla.) 12-5 in the semifinals with Abby Walker and Emma Dotsikas each contributing five points.

7. Lamar (Texas), 12-3-1
The Redskins won the Houston city tournament last week, beating defending state champion St. John's (Texas) 9-5 in a rematch of a regular-season game Lamar lost in overtime. Toby Folk was the game's MVP, finishing with four goals, one ground ball and two draw controls. Both teams advance to the state playoffs this weekend, but Lamar earned a first-round bye.

8. Barron Collier (Fla.), 18-6
The Cougars advanced to their first Final Four with a win over St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) last week but fell short against eventual state champion Vero Beach, 15-9, in the semifinals Saturday. After trailing 9-2 at halftime, Barron Collier outscored the Fighting Indians 7-6 in the second half, including three unanswered goals to end the game. Olivia Ferrucci led the Cougars with six goals, one assist, eight ground balls and two caused turnovers.

9. Hockaday (Texas), 16-2
The Daisies edged defending state champion St. John's (Texas) 9-8 in the Southwestern Preparatory Conference final Saturday. PJ Van den Branden and Emily Stallings scored two goals in a 90-second span in the last six minutes to put Hockaday up for good and the defense held off a furious St. John's rally in the final seconds. Emily Wechsler led Hockaday with three goals. The Daisies earned a first-round bye in the state tournament Saturday.

10. Franklin (Tenn.), 20-0
The Rebels rolled into this weekend's Final Four in Tennessee with first- and second-round wins over Webb (Tenn.) and University School of Nashville (Tenn.). They face Houston in the state semifinals Friday in a rematch of a game Franklin won 16-14 earlier this season. The Rebels also have a win over state semifinalist Ensworth but have not played Hutchison.


Vero Beach (Fla.) scored in the double digits in all 21 of its win and averaged 14.75 goals per game this season; however, the defense deserves much of the credit for the team's run to a ninth straight state title.

In addition to McDonough's 15-save performance in the Fighting Indians' 13-6 win over Ponte Vedra, Vero Beach got solid zone defense play from Emily Long, Logan Eisinger, Olivia Blakeman, Megan Gorman, Ashley MacIntyre, Sydney Murphy and Zan Biedenharn.

"Defense is the backbone of our team — it always has been," coach Shannon Dean told TCPalm.com. "We take pride in having a good, solid defense."

Vero Beach's offense got off to a bit of a slow start, but the Indians ended up with 31 shots on goal. In addition to Katy Pridemore's three goals and two assists, three other players finished with two goals and one assist – Hannah Pridemore, Abby Shields and Blakeman.

"I believe in our system and our philosophy," Dean said. "Even when we start slow, like we did, I know it's just a matter of time that we separate.

Vero Beach has won every state final since the FHSAA began recognizing the sport in 2008 – plus two club titles before that – and it looks promising for the Fighting Indians to win a 10th straight title next year.

Seven of the team's top eight scorers return next season, as well as McDonough. The Indians lose standout scorer Katy Pridemore, who will play at Liberty University next year.


Last week was a tough one for St. John's (Texas), which dropped out of the rankings with its first two in-state losses this season.

The Mavericks were ranked fifth in the South before losing games to Lamar and Hockaday. They now are 17-4 and enter the TGHSLL state tournament as the No. 3 seed, while Lamar and Hockaday earned the top two seeds and first-round byes.

St. John's swept SPC, city and state titles last year, winning all three in the same year for the first time in program history. Though the Mavericks were unable to repeat their city and conference championships, they still have a shot at the state title this weekend. However, they will have to play an extra game to defend their 2013 title, meeting No. 6 seed St. Andrew's (Texas) in the first round Saturday morning. A win would give the Mavericks another shot at Hockaday in the semifinals, which are set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday.


The Georgia state tournament begins this week, as Milton tries for its ninth state title in program history and fifth straight. Lassiter and Walton could meet in the semifinals, if both win their first- and second-round games as the Class 6A tournament begins Wednesday. In the 5A tournament, Westminster will try to defend its 2013 title but will have to do so as the second seed in Area 2. The Wildcats play Holy Innocents' in the first round Tuesday.

Check back to LaxMagazine.com every 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.

2014 South Region Report Archive

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