High School Girls' Lacrosse Preview -- April 1-3

Two of the nation's top girls' lacrosse programs get together this weekend in New York, when Garden City visits St. Anthony's. Meanwhile, Vero Beach (FL) looks to extend its 50-game winning streak against a familiar foe. Plus, national power Moorestown (NJ) opens its season against a tough regional opponent that has upset experience. It's the most jam-packed weekend of the season by far, one that should prove to be captivating from California to New York and everywhere in between.

Starting in the Northeast Region, Garden City and St. Anthony's meet on Saturday in a highly anticipated contest between LaxPower's top-ranked New York girls' lacrosse teams from 2010. Reloaded again in '11, both squads boast enough talent to knock off any one of the nation's best programs. As far as early-season match-ups go, this one should be terrific.

Explosive, speedy and deep, Garden City is riding a 28-game winning streak into the weekend that dates back to the '09 campaign. With wins over Farmingdale and Kellenberg, the Trojans have looked as strong as ever in '11. Catherine Dickinson has emerged as a go-to threat, while veterans Gabrielle Nesi and Erin Mullins head up an intimidating defense.

However, St. Anthony's counters with one of its most talented rosters in program history. The Friars are riding the coattails of their third consecutive Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA championship and feature a number of highly-touted Division I recruits. Simply, the team's attack unit is one of the best in the nation. The trio of Lauren Schwalje (Georgetown), Kerrin Maurer (Duke) and Christina Gambino (Penn) will likely give Garden City's defense its toughest test of the season. These teams last met back in '09 when Garden City proved victorious, 12-9.

Moving to Southeast action, like their fellow boys' teams, Apex and Cardinal Gibbons meet on the turf this weekend in a key North Carolina battle. Apex which enters the match-up undefeated at 11-0 already has the look of a championship team thanks in part to its stellar offense. Behind attackers Cawley Bromley and Kristi Marks, the Cougars have scored 14 or more goals in each of their 11 games to date.

Meanwhile, the Crusaders (9-1) have aspirations of an upset this weekend. The squad passed big tests against Ravenscroft School and Athens Drive, but fell to Green Hope, a team Cardinal Gibbons defeated this season, 17-9. The Crusaders will need a huge effort from Lauren Halk and the defense in order to notch their tenth win of the season.

Also in North Carolina, two upstart programs face-off as Myers Park takes on Marvin Ridge. Myers Park (6-2) is looking to shake off a loss to Apex on March 26 and prove it belongs in the conversation as a title prospect. A sizeable win over Marvin Ridge (4-1) will certainly be a boost.

In Florida lacrosse, Vero Beach looks to extend its 50-game winning streak on Saturday when they face a formidable Lake Brantley team. The Fighting Indians are riding high after posting a come-from-behind 10-9 victory over Pennsylvania power Archbishop Carroll on March 26, the latest proof that the team can be considered one of the nation's best girls' lacrosse programs.

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