Girls' Lacrosse Weekend Preview - Feb. 25-26

All Eyes on Florida This Week

All eyes will be focused on the state of Florida this week in girls' high school lacrosse. With a handful of 2010 state tournament qualifiers set to battle in the first full week of action, there are already some intriguing early-season clashes that could have a lasting impact on the 2011 campaign.

Earlier on Monday, 2010 state runner-up Lake Brantley defeated fellow Florida power Lake Highland Prep, 14-8, to commence the season. Lake Brantley -- likely to contend for another state title this year -- used a balanced attack and strong effort from its defense to pull away with the victory. Meanwhile, Lake Highland Prep, who fell to the Patriots in a second round play-in matchup in last year's state tournament, is expected to be a challenger for the District 7 title once again behind an experienced group of seniors.

"Lake Brantley is a great team to play," said Lake Highland Prep head coach Amy Demers, now in her third year. "They have incredible depth and a great tradition of lacrosse. They beat us in the transition game and overall conditioning, but it was a good learning experience for us. But I'm incredibly pleased at where we are this season. We are well ahead of where we were a year ago at this time."

Jacquelyn Schaefer led the way for the Patriots with 5 goals, while Katie Trahanas added a goal and two assists. Trahanas is coming off an impressive 76-goal season. The Patriots have reached the state finals in 4 of the last 5 seasons.

Looking ahead to this weekend, defending state champion Vero Beach battles Oviedo on Friday, a matchup of two Florida heavyweights. Oviedo is coming off a 15-4 season and has plans for an early-season upset, while Vero Beach looks to start the year with authority. Armed with an experienced and talented lineup that includes Johns Hopkins recruit Olivia Long, Vero Beach is widely regarded as the team to beat in the Sunshine State.

Elsewhere, Lake Highland Prep faces another tough test when they meet Winter Springs Friday. Winter Springs heads into the year on the heels of a state semifinals appearance. The Bears return four players who netted 50 or more goals last season, including senior Kenna Wick, who finished with 83 tallies.

Despite some daunting early-season tests, Demers is confident that her squad -- like many others across the state -- will see the benefits from scheduling tough games from the get-go.

"Some coaches prefer an easy early season schedule," Demers said. "But for us, we like to schedule tougher matchups. It's a good wake-up call for us and the girls get to see what they have to do to get ready for a championship."



To contact staff writer Adam Warner, send an e-mail to adam@laxpower.com.

2011-02-23



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