Bishop’s looks strong, La Jolla young and growing

Girls Lacrosse: The Bishop’s School Knights 19, La Jolla High School Vikings 3

By Ed Piper

The Bishop’s School midfielder Alarisse Lam and her Lady Knights teammates kept bringing the ball from midfield (or even closer) like a relentless wave toward the La Jolla High Vikings’ goal, pushing the attack to keep pressure on the visiting Vikings April 21.

Said 11-year Bishop’s coach Meghan Carr, whose lacrosse teams won Coastal League titles in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2013: “If that ball hits the ground, it needs to be in someone’s stick in three seconds.”

The mad rush to the gates pays off in forcing opponents to make quick, constant adjustments on the fly without a pause to think and regroup.

Lam, one of the team captains, explained, “We’ve developed both a strong, solid defense and an attack with a lot of firepower, both of which are really exciting to be part of.”

Bishop’s seniors Barrett Kearney and Catlin Brown lead offensively, each averaging five goals and four assists a game. Fellow senior Hannah James leads on the defensive side. Carr noted “her quick footwork and her ability to quickly turn over balls and place them in our attack.” Alex Flagg and Sydney Yockey key the midfield and defense. Senior goalie Nikki Gold tore her ACL after wins over Cathedral and Rancho Bernardo and is lost for the season, but freshman Elizabeth Russell is filling in, starting with the game against La Jolla.

Carr noted that during spring break, when school is closed down and activity usually lessens, the entire team chose to come back to practice and play in the Sun, Surf and Stix Tournament — “key in starting off our season against heavy hitters like Cathedral and Rancho Bernardo.” The Lady Knights (5-0 in the Coastal League, 14-0 overall) are ranked 13th in California, 77th in the nation, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Those are powerhouse numbers, with Bishop’s playing in the CIF Division I playoff semifinals last year against Canyon Crest before losing to the eventual CIF champion, and beating third-seed Mission Hills in the quarterfinals.

“One of the two major things our coaches have stressed to us has been composure, meaning on defense, we never let the other players’ actions get to us; we stick to fundamentals and keep our composure,” Lam noted. “The second thing is to ‘rip it up,’ which means our attack never slows down or gets comfortable with any lead, and we continue to push forward.”

La Jolla Vikings Coach Brittany Butler (2-1 in the tough City League, 6-5 overall) manages a younger group, but the players are no less committed or hardworking. They were faced with the awesome task of trying to slow down Bishop’s persistent attack, but didn’t quit and at halftime, made adjustments that led to a visibly more aggressive offense and goals by Lauren Robbins.

Courtney Gainor, who leads Vikings’ defense, cited the contributions to the team from Cat Cuthrell, who just started playing lacrosse this season as a senior.

Ashley Pretorius, Heather Eaton and Robbins lead the offense. “Heather has really stepped up to the plate in her first year as a varsity player,” said Coach Butler. “The connections she and Ashley make on attack are phenomenal.”

Lauren Fike and Gainor stand out on the defensive side. Said Coach Butler of Fike, “She really understands how to reach back in a tough game and rise to the occasion.”

La Jolla, like Bishop’s, has had to deal with the ACL menace — twice. Senior Emily Young tore hers last fall in field hockey and sophomore Helen Lee is also out with ACL rehab. Both players come out to share their knowledge with their teammates. Lee spoke highly of the efforts Morgan Mitruka made in goals this season for the Vikings.