High School Girls

May 26, 2015
Novato celebrates its championship in California. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)
Novato celebrates its championship in California. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

Nike/LM HS West Report: Novato's Exclaimation Point

by Todd Karpovich | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Nike/LM National Top 25: Boys | Girls
Region Reports: South | Mid-Atlantic | Midwest | West | Northeast

The Novato (Calif.) girls' lacrosse team put an exclamation mark at the end of the most successful season in school history.

The Hornets beat defending champion Amador Valley, 14-11, to win their first North Coast Section Division I championship.

Novato also won its first MCAL league championship.

"This is a 'team' in every sense of the word," coach Rory Daly said. "They truly enjoy being together, on and off the field. Our school and the community really rallied behind this team, and the girls had a real sense of pride all year."

Jensen Neff (Stanford) led fourth-seeded Novato with three goals and three assists. Allie Level also had a hat-trick and an assist against for the Hornets in the title game.

Amador Valley got four goals from Jackie Gilbert, who is a member of the U.S. Under-19 National Team.

Novato led 7-6 at the break before pulling away in the second half. DJ Wilmott scored twice, and Neff added another to increase the margin to 10-6 early in the second half. The Hornets dictated the pace of the game the rest of the way.

Novato finished the season 22-3, ending with a seven-game winning streak after back-to-back one-goal losses to West No. 1 St. Ignatius and California High School in late April. The Hornets dominated opponents through the playoffs.

"They respond so well to hard work," Daly said. "The harder they were pushed this year, the harder they worked, whether it was practice or a game like our NCS championship game. The way they responded to a challenge and rallied together really carried them through to the end."

Nike/LM West Girls' Top 10

1. St. Ignatius (Calif.), 17-3
2. Novato (Calif.), 22-3
3. La Costa Canyon (Calif.), 20-3
4. Colorado Academy (Colo.), 16-3
5. San Ramon Valley (Calif.), 18-2
6. Granite Bay (Calif.), 18-2
7. Issaquah (Wash.), 13-0
8. Park City (Utah), 15-0
9. Cherry Creek (Colo.), 18-2
10. Monte Vista, Danville (Calif.), 20-3

Who's Hot?

Novato won its first North Coast Section Division I championship and finished the season at 22-3 and No. 2 in the West. The Hornets beat Amador Valley 14-11 in the final, as they closed the season with seven straight wins, including avenging a season-opening loss to Sam Ramon Valley (Calif.) in the semifinals. Their only other losses were both by one goal.

Girls' West Player of the Week

Jensen Neff, Novato (Calif.)

The senior had three goals and three assists to lead the Hornets to their first-ever North Coast Section Division I championship. Novato beat defending champion Amador Valley 14-11. Neff will attend Stanford.

Also notable: Bridget Sutter (Colorado Academy, Colo.), Natalie Byrne (West Linn, Ore.), Caroline Tague (Miramonte, Calif.)

Nike/LM West Boys' Top 10

West Boys' Player of the Week

Drew Erikson, San Ramon Valley (Calif.)

The freshman scored three goals to lead the Wolves to the North Coast Section Division I championship with a 9-5 victory over Monte Vista-Danville (Calif.). Erikson flashed his skills throughout the game with one of his goals coming from behind-the-back.

Also notable: Scott Glowner (Marin Catholic, Calif.), Evan Condon (Mercer Island, Wash.), Joe Bethke (Bellevue, Wash.)

1. St. Ignatius (Calif.), 18-1
2. Cherry Creek (Colo.), 1​8-1
3. St. Margaret's Episcopal (Calif.), 21-3
4. Corner Canyon (Utah), 21-1
5. San Ramon Valley (Calif.), 18-2
6. Corona del Mar (Calif.), 18-1
7. Park City (Utah), 21-2
8. Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.), 20-2
9. Regis Jesuit (Colo.), 16-3
10. Bellevue (Wash.), 17-4

Who's Hot?

San Ramon Valley won the North Coast Section Division I championship with a 9-5 victory over Monte Vista-Danville. The Wolves had beaten the Mustangs twice already this season. San Ramon Valley won 11 straight to close the year

Who's Not?

The West region competition is wrapping up strong. With only Washington and Oregon states still playing, the Top 10 includes five state or sectional champions, two runners up and one team (Bellevue, Wash.) still alive in the postseason.

Boys' Games to Watch

The Washington State KingCo semifinals, May 27

The top four seeds advanced out of the KingCo conference. No. 2-seeded Mercer Island (20-1) hosts No. 3 Issaquah (18-3). Top-seeded Bellevue (17-4) hosts No. 4 Skyline (15-3).


Girls' West Region Notebook

Natalie Byrne scored six goals and the West Linn (Ore.) girls' lacrosse team beat defending champion Lake Oswego (Ore.) 12-10 to claim the Oregon Girls Lacrosse Association state title.

Byrne (USC) was named co-MVP with goalie Annalyssa Sassara. West Linn and Lake Oswego have played for the state title for four consecutive years, winning two titles each.

The teams split their two regular-season meetings.

"We made adjustments in our second matchup of the regular season -- different players assigned to their top scorers," West Linn coach Meg Elston said. "We won that game 11-8, which gave an aggregate score of 19-19 in the regular season. We kept these adjustments for the final game and also worked on a few new plays and moving their goalie. Simple things, but effective. In the end, it was hustle, determination and the little things (draw controls, ground balls, well-placed shots) that won the game."

After falling behind 8-5, West Linn scored six straight goals midway through the second half to take control of the game. After Lake Oswego rallied to pull within 11-10, Hailey Bouchard scored for the Lions to seal the victory.

Madeline Reece had four goals for Lake Oswego.

"The seniors – there are five of them – get to be a part of the (West Linn) team that proved to the state that our 2013 state title wasn't a fluke and that we can have a loss in the state finals (in 2014) and come back and try for it again and succeed," Elston said. "They deserve it, and I think we're pretty emotionally overwhelmed by it all.

"Four of the seniors get to leave the program having played in four state championship matches, all against Lake Oswego, with two first-place finishes. That's not a bad way to end their career."

For West Linn, Elston said the future continues to look bright next season.

"The team looks great," she said. "We will lose five talented seniors, but return an amazing squad with a lot of leadership. We also return the championship game co-MVPs and all-state players in goalie Annalyssa Sassara (So.) and midfielder Natalie Byrne (Jr.)."


Bridget Sutter had 19 saves to lead Colorado Academy (Colo.) to its second state championship with an 8-3 victory over perennial power Cherry Creek (Colo.).

Ella Annest, Emma Richards and Henley Hall each scored two goals for the Mustangs, who won their other title in 2000. Sutter faced 22 shots and came up big throughout the game.

Colorado Academy went on a 5-1 run in the second half to pull away.

Caroline Perry had two goals for Cherry Creek, which has appeared in every title game since the sport was sanctioned in 1998. The Bruins finished the season at 15-3.

Colorado Academy finished the season at 16-3.


Caroline Tague had 10 points on seven goals and three assists to lead Miramonte (Calif.) to the North Coast Section Division II girls lacrosse championship with a 13-10 win over University (Calif.). Madison Geary also had a hat trick for Miramonte. Olivia Barnett scored four goals for University.

Boys' West Region Notebook

Freshman Drew Erikson scored three goals to lead San Ramon Valley (Calif.) to the North Coast Section Division I championship with a 9-5 victory over Monte Vista-Danville (Calif.).

Austin French (Denver) and Carter Nichols also scored twice for the Wolves, who finished the season 18-2.

San Ramon Valley's only losses were to top-ranked St. Ignatius (Calif.) in the season opener and to West No. 3 St. Margaret's Episcopal (Calif.) on April 10. From there, the Wolves closed out the season on an 11-game winning streak.

Chris Ryan had two goals for Monte Vista (16-6).


Scott Glowner scored four goals to lead Marin Catholic (Calif.) to a 9-8 victory over Acalanes (Calif.) for its second consecutive North Coast Section Division II championship.

Brothers Ryan and Sean O'Keefe also scored twice for Marin Catholic (17-7). Adrian Jeffries had four goals and two assists for Acalanes (17-5).

Nike/LM West Region Report Archive

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