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GIRLS LACROSSE PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth Central

Coach: Meagan McLeod, second season.

Last season: 1-17.

Key returners: MF Madison Goldberg, Soph.; D Maria Hansen, Jr.; MF Elizabeth Pirello, Sr.

Key newcomers: MF Ansley Balberde, Fr.

Outlook: Second-year head coach Meagan McLeod concedes her Lady Bulldogs program is still in building mode. Central got off to a slow start last season simply because so many players were new to the sport; McLeod spent a good deal of her energy getting fundamentals in place. She expects that to be a less of a challenge this season. Junior defender Maria Hansen is a strong presence in the back, while sophomore middie Madison Goldberg is quick and smart. McLeod said she’ll also be depending on freshman middie Ansley Balberde in a variety of ways all over the field. But McLeod sees better numbers in the program and enough improvement in both skill and demeanor to expect better things this season. “They’re showing a lot more confidence and the will to win,” McLeod said.

Lambert

Coach: Kate Sedgwick, fifth season.

Last season: 8-8, lost in Class AAAAAA first round.

Key returners: GK Morgan Berman, Jr.; MF Cloe Latini, Jr.; MF Peyton Smith, Jr.

Key newcomers: A Alli Earwood, Fr.

Outlook: Head coach Kate Sedgwick begins her fifth season leading the Lady Longhorns but first since 2013 after two years coaching in college at Roberts Wesleyan, a Division II school in Rochester, New York. Sedgwick began Lambert’s program and led it to its greatest heights and returns to find the Lady Longhorns climbing the ranks after getting back into the state playoffs last season. Winthrop commit and junior goalie Morgan Berman gives Lambert an experienced anchor on defense, while Kennesaw State and junior Peyton Smith and sophomore Cloe Latini lead the middie unit. The Lady Longhorns should have the depth and talent to be the state playoff mix again. “We have the potential and talent to go far,” Sedgwick said, “but we need to capitalize on players’ individual and team strengths.”

North Forsyth

Coach: Robert Kienle, second season.

Last season: 6-11.

Key returners: MF Brittany Smith, Jr.; MF Corinne Thompson, Sr.; A Hailey Yarbough, Jr.

Key newcomers: A Julianna Chesna, Soph.; GK Grace Hanks, Soph.

Outlook: Second-year head coach Robert Kienle sees in his Lady Raiders’ team the makings of a good middie unit that can play both sides of the ball, led by senior Corinne Thompson, a second-team all-county selection last season, and a defense that thrives off the players’ chemistry. Of concern is the unit’s transition game; Kienle felt North gave up far too many transition goals. It’ll be paramount for the Lady Raiders to control pace. “Our focus is to get better every game,” Kienle said, “and hopefully with hard work and determination the wins will come with our efforts.”

Pinecrest Academy

Coach: Jillian DiFazio, third season.

Last season: 4-10.

Key returners: MF Molly Dankowski, Soph.; MF Sarah DiFazio, Jr.; GK Haley Jones, Soph.; D Tessa Stubbs, Sr.; MF Alex Tilkin, Soph.

Outlook: A full roster returns for third-year head coach Jillian DiFazio, led by four all-county players last season. Alex Tilkin, Molly Dankowski and DiFazio’s daughter, Sarah, were first-team selections. Tilkin had 41 goals and 62 draw controls, Dankowski had 41 goals and 25 assists, while Sarah had 29 and 23, respectively. They form the core of a capable offense. DiFazio hopes the Lady Paladins can build on its defense around senior Tessa Stubbs, a second-team all-county selection last season, and goalie Haley Jones and that a host of incoming freshmen with impressive athleticism can complement all the returning talent. “We expect to have a winning season,” DiFazio said.  

South Forsyth

Coach: William McIlvain, second season.

Last season: 11-7.

Key returners: McKenzie Cole, Soph.; Kira Hearns, Soph.; Morgan Hearn, Soph.; Katelyn Housler, Soph.; Martina Goveaszzo, Jr.; Camryn Klaus, Soph.; Izzy Parker, Soph.; Jamie Porter, Sr.

Key newcomers: Maddie Ford, Fr.; Lauren Murtha, Fr.; Meredith Ray, Jr.; Morgan Wright, Jr.

Outlook: The Lady War Eagles were a competitive group last season, going 3-4 in a tough Area 3-AAAAAA, led by prolific scorer Madison Mueller, the 2015 Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year. Three of those losses were by a combined seven goals, including one in overtime. But South will have a tough time in replacing Mueller, who transferred to area and county rival West Forsyth, leaving second-year coach William McIlvain with a young group that he says needs to continue to develop team chemistry. “We are a young team with a lot of enthusiasm for the game,” McIlvain said.

West Forsyth

Coach: John Thompson, second season.

Last season: 13-5, lost in Class AAAAAA first round.

Key returners: A Sarah Grady, Sr.; D Allie Fagg, Sr.; D Madie Pollack, Sr.; D Katie Bruce, Sr.; MF Maggie Dickman, Sr.; MF English Day, Sr.; A Kelly Guthrie, Jr.; MF Brenna Harris, Jr.; A/MF Lauren Doherty, Jr.; D Savannah Bennett, Jr.; D Izzy Tyler, Jr.; G Lauren Ionta, Jr. A Stephanie Duclos, Jr.; D Adrienne Duclos, Jr.; D Natalie Bascom, Jr.

Key newcomers: A Madison Mueller, Sr.; MF Ella Madsen, Fr.; MF Jillian White, Fr.; MF Kate Pulliam, Fr.; MF McCrae Roush, Sr.

Outlook: The Lady Wolverines have firmly seized its place atop the county after winning its third straight Forsyth Cup, which is awarded to the program that fares best against its county rivals. West should be the favorites to win it again and compete for a state playoff spot. It returns dangerous scorers in Sarah Grady, Kelly Guthrie, Brenna Harris and Maggie Dickman. It has its entire defense back, led by seniors Katie Bruce, Allie Fagg and Madie Pollack. Oh, almost forgot: the Lady Wolverines also got a huge boost with the addition of Madison Mueller, the 2015 Forsyth County News’ Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year who transferred from South Forsyth after scoring 96 goals in 18 games. She won’t have to score that many on a deeper West team. The Lady Wolverines have a question in goal, but otherwise expect West to be the team to beat again.