The Indian Creek School girls’ lacrosse team has wasted no time this spring in declaring its intentions to compete for a championship.
Playing their first year in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference, the Eagles have started the season with a bang, going 9-2 through April 7 and 5-0 in conference play. Wins over Chapelgate Christian, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Catholic High School, Baltimore Lutheran and St. Vincent Pallotti have pushed the team to the top of the Red Division standings in the ten-team, two-division C Conference. Having already nearly doubled last year’s win total of five, the ICS players and coaches are excited by the rapid improvement of the program as well as for what the future holds.
“It’s evolved from a lot of teaching of fundamentals to being able to put in a lot more team concepts,” said Indian Creek Head Coach Steve Willett following a 15-11 home win over Chapelgate on March 27. “It’s very exciting [to enter the IAAM C this season]. Top to bottom from the A division to the C it’s probably the best league in the country, so it’s exciting to have a championship to play for and to play some very good schools…Maybe I’m crazy, but every time we step on the field I think we’re going to win.”
So far, Willett’s players have done well to justify his optimism. Against Chapelgate on March 27, Indian Creek never trailed and fended off several Yellow Jacket comeback attempts before slamming the door shut and notching the 15-11 win.
Freshman Abbi O’Neal – who scored eight goals in her first varsity game against Eleanor Roosevelt and had nine in the team’s 11-8 win over Pallotti on April 4 – led the Eagles with seven scores against Chapelgate and also had three assists.
Kacee Helm notched a hat trick of her own, scoring three goals with three assists. Kiana Dawson had two goals and two assists, while Brennan Davis had two goals and two assists and Margot White had a goal and two assists.
Ali King, Ashley Leverett and Emma Mugford powered the Eagles’ swift transition game, while Corrine Woodson and Janee Rhone put forth strong defensive efforts. Delaney Kerns was solid in goal for the Eagles during the first half and was spelled by Alex Morris, who posted seven saves in the second half.
Dawson, a team captain and a four-year standout for the Eagles in soccer, basketball and lacrosse, spoke of the growth of the program over the past several years from a program in its infancy to a legitimate title contender.
“We weren’t as educated about the game as we are now,” she said, listing areas where the team has improved significantly. “Working together, off-ball movement, communicating with each other, feeding each other the ball when we have open cutters and finding each other up the field has definitely improved a lot since my freshman year,” she said.
As for the team’s goals this year, Dawson stopped short of sensational guarantees, focusing instead on the team’s day-to-day mentality. “I want to make sure that everyone gets their part, that we use everyone on the field so that it’s not just one individual doing all the work. We all put in the effort, it’s a team effort, and that’s how we win games.”
Willett, now in his third year as head coach, likewise has confidence in the team’s makeup.
“[A championship] is a lofty goal, but I think we can make a game of it,” he said. “We have strength at every position. We don’t have a whole lot of depth, but if we can stay healthy we can give everybody a game…They’re fighters, and they fall back on some good habits that they’ve learned. They play a nice, strong, team game now, so hopefully that will carry us pretty far this season.”