Every high school girls lacrosse team in the state began the 2012 season with the dream of being at Mason High School this Saturday playing for an Ohio Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association state championship.
After winning back-to-back Division I state titles in 2010 and 2011, Medina’s squad didn’t just start its campaign dreaming about having the opportunity to play for its third consecutive championship – the Bees planned on doing so.
“In the preseason, we knew exactly where we wanted to be June 2 and that’s Cincinnati,” Medina second-year head coach Amanda Wilson said. “No one wants this more than us, and every game and every practice is our chance to better ourselves and grow stronger as a team.”
The veteran Bees (14-3), who are ranked second in the latest LaxPower.com Ohio computer ratings, battled through some injuries early in the season to earn their fourth consecutive state tournament appearance and again prove to be one of the state’s best.
Medina will play Sycamore in a semifinal contest today at 5:15 p.m. The winner will play either Cleveland Heights or Upper Arlington in the state championship game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
WKYC’s HighSchoolSports.net: What has been your team’s motto this season?
Medina girls lacrosse coach Amanda Wilson: “Rally Back.” In games, things aren’t always going to go our way. The other team might score on us or win the draw controls. When that happens, we rally back; get things going our way again.
WKYC: What are three adjectives that describe your team and/or its play this season?
Wilson: Tenacious, steady [and] spirited.
WKYC: What has been your team’s greatest strength this season?
Wilson: Experience. We only lost one senior last year, so we were able to go into this season with a lot of returning starters. These girls have played together in championship games, battled through overtimes, played on the same summer teams and have grown up and played together since youth. They know each others’ thoughts, style and habits.
WKYC: What has been your team’s greatest weakness this season?
Wilson: Injuries. At the start of the season, we didn’t have Christina Haston due to a stress fracture in her shin and didn’t have Sierra Thomas for a few weeks because of mononucleosis. Christina Haston, a senior defender, is a key defender while Sierra, a junior, is a lethal midfielder. Luckily, they have since returned and are healthy.
WKYC: What has been the high point of your team’s season thus far?
Wilson: This is my second year with the team and a highlight for me is seeing how much they’ve grown and developed as players, people and leaders. For the season, a high point is definitely going into the postseason ranked No. 1 in our region and being able to travel to Cincinnati for [the] semis.
WKYC: What was the low point of your team’s season? What did your team learn from the experience?
Wilson: Our games against New Albany and New Trier. We weren’t able to take care of the details and ended up losing to New Albany in overtime. Later that day, we played New Trier – a strong team from Chicago – and didn’t have one of our key players, Katie Keefe, because of a concussion and had to play the entire second half down a person because of yellow cards. [That taught us] that showing up to play is not enough to win a game. Every minute and every detail matters and can greatly influence the game. We were also able to walk away with the understanding that every team wants to be the one that beats us. Winning two state championships puts a big target on your back and we need to perform at our best. We take pride in our accomplishments and look forward to each new challenge.
WKYC: Who are your team’s leaders? What do they bring to the team?
Wilson: Carrie Kubasta, Katie Keefe, Ellie Hudson-Heck and Alli Snyder. All four girls are natural leaders and bring something different to the table. Carrie Kubasta brings consistency and is a vital part of our defense; she also leads the team in caused turnovers and has the highest shot percentage. Katie Keefe is a very skilled player who leads by example and is currently leading the team in draw controls. Ellie Hudson-Heck brings the passion to the team and is currently first in points. She is always the first one to congratulate a [teammate] if they score and [is] a constant voice that motivates us through the hard times. Alli Snyder brings support to our team. Although she might not be a starter, she is always willing to do whatever she can for the team; she would do anything for them.
WKYC: Who is your team’s unsung hero(s)? Why?
Wilson: Amanda Getto and Kelsey Shewbridge. Amanda Getto, a junior, is our goalie. Since I first meet her, she has improved so much and works very hard to keep getting better. Kelsey Shewbridge, a senior, is one of our key defenders. When I first started at Medina, I put in a new defensive style and she is a major part of that. She is always the hardest worker at practice and it shows in her playing during a game. Both these girls are extraordinary people and have been a huge part in our wins this season.
WKYC: When the season is long over, what will you remember most about this year’s squad?
Wilson: Aside from their talent and skill level, I’ll remember their spunk and their heart. These girls love lacrosse and being able to play it together and always find ways to have fun while working hard at practice. Many of them are highly involved in their community and give back to others with their extracurricular activities.
Photo courtesy Medina girls lacrosse coach Amanda Wilson
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