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2020 ALL-COUNTY GIRLS LACROSSE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kayla Casey, South Forsyth
Kayla Casey
South Forsyth senior Kayla Casey was the ultimate utility player for Travis Pearre during her four years with the War Eagles. Her senior season was no different, as Casey saved 63 percent of the shots that came her way in goal, adding 11 goals, two assists and 28 ground balls while playing the field. - photo by David Roberts

There isn’t much Kayla Casey can’t do.

Make a save, score a goal, direct the defense – she can do all of that. And she can do it all at a high level, too.

Casey was the ultimate utility player for Travis Pearre during her four years at South Forsyth. Her senior season was no different, as Casey saved 63 percent of the shots that came her way in goal, adding 11 goals, two assists and 28 ground balls while playing the field.

At any given moment in the game, Casey could either be in goal, playing midfield or on attack.

So, what exactly was Casey’s role for the War Eagles?

“Honestly, I’m not really sure,” Casey said with a laugh. “I mean, one moment I’d be in the cage, the next I’d be out playing middie, then I’d be playing attack. I told Coach (Pearre) at the beginning of the year that I want the team to win and I will play anywhere that’ll make us the most successful. So, at times he thought I’d do better in the cage, and at times he thought I’d be more useful in the field. I feel like I was just the all-around player who was just there to help everybody to win.”

Pearre’s juggling of Casey’s abilities appeared to work through the first nine games of the season, with the War Eagles going 7-2 and off to their best start in six years before the season was canceled.

In fact, it took the War Eagles just under a month to surpass last year’s win total (4).

“This year, I feel like we had a lot more people who were invested in the team,” Casey said. “In the past years, we had people who love lacrosse, but it wasn’t their main sport, or they just didn’t have the true heart like the team this year did. We all really worked together and we’re all very good friends. It was just more enjoyable, and I think that led onto the field.”

Kayla Casey
Casey will enroll this fall at Mercer, which won its second straight Southern Conference championship in 2019. - photo by David Roberts
Lacrosse is truly Casey’s main sport, though she also starred for the War Eagles’ basketball team in the winter.

This year, Casey’s season was cut even shorter after South Forsyth’s basketball season extended past the War Eagles’ lacrosse opener against Duluth on Feb. 10.

“It definitely was hard, especially because I would miss a few lacrosse games, because we would always make it to state in basketball,” Casey said. “It was a little different, just because I wouldn’t be warmed up in the cage and I wouldn’t have gotten shots for the past two months because I’d been playing basketball. So, it would be a little hard for me to transition, but I always found a way to make it work with my teammates.”

South Forsyth opened up area play the following week with a 17-0 thrashing of Gainesville.

The War Eagles’ depth at goalie allowed Casey to play in the field more often, as sophomore Danielle Serbinksi stepped in to spell Casey, South’s Swiss Army knife.

“It was cool, because my freshman and sophomore years, I was basically the only goalie on the team,” Casey said. “So I really had no one there to kind of show me what to do, so it was really fun having Danielle there to kind of teach her everything and get her used to high school lacrosse a little more.

“I’ve played goalie ever since seventh grade. So getting out there on the field and scoring goals, that was actually pretty fun, but my true home is the cage. It’s the best position.”

Casey will enroll this fall at Mercer, which won its second straight Southern Conference championship in 2019.

Casey said she will room with longtime friend and Lambert midfielder Gabby DiVirgilio at Mercer.

“I’m really excited,” Casey said. “Our coach got to pick our roommates. When she put me and Gabby together, it was just kind of funny because we’ve grown up playing together ever since we were in fifth grade. It’s going to be fun.”