Girls Lacrosse: La Jolla Country Day 10, Pacific Ridge 9. Second-year program making strides

By Ed Piper

Country Day, facing 90-degree-plus heat plus howling winds, was down 6-4 to the visiting Pacific Ridge girls lacrosse team. Open shots on the Torreys’ goal were tying up freshman goalie Michelle Geller as the Firebird scored three consecutive goals. Second-year head coach Maegan Cruse made adjustments, and the Torreys pulled out a come-from-behind 10-9 win for their first Coastal League victory April 30.

Cruse singled out defensive captain Katherine Field. “Kat had several game-changing caused turnovers on defense, enabling her to get the ball back to her offense for possession,” said Cruse. Kat, a junior, plays along her sister Sarah, a sophomore, on defense.

Emily Blodgett, the offensive captain who plays attack wing, also had some key plays in the win.

Nina Roudi, who plays low defense, highlighted Geller’s willingness this season to play goalie despite having no experience at the position. The team had no one who could play the position. This is not uncommon in high school lacrosse. Said Roudi, “I’m so proud of her for stepping up to play goalie. She did an amazing job and made incredible saves. I know being goalie can have a lot of pressure, and Michelle handled it so well.”

Cruse pointed out that Country Day has one of the newer varsity teams in the Coastal League, so she has had to build a new program. “My favorite quality about these girls is that they truly play the game for one another, as a team.”

She said there’s a running joke on the team about the word “tenacity.”

“It seems like I use it in every sentence. But it can directly apply to our team. If we are tenacious, we actually show up in games with a hunger to win. But if we sit idly by being the ‘new team’, we get steamrolled. So this year it was important for me to remind my girls that they have the ability, even as a newer team, to rise to any challenge,” Coach Cruse said.

A typical starting lineup has had the following look, besides Geller, the Fields, Roudi, and Blodgett: Mel Moore and Natalie Boyer at defensive wings; Kendal McGinnis at center; Hye-Young Shin, Alexandra Foster or Miller Stern at A-wings; Nicole Koman, Bella Davis, Glenn Callahan-Mayo, Renata Muller, Leila Bagheri on low attack.

Commented Callahan-Mayo, “I never would have thought our team would get so close. Being on this team is one of the best things I’ve ever had the privilege of experiencing.”

Said Roudi, “I played low defense this season, so my goal throughout the season was mainly to protect our goalie and to help my other defenders crash when a girl would drive the ball to the goal. It was really great for us to learn on defense how to work with our skills and help each other improve.”

“I’m especially proud of our three freshmen, Michelle, Leila, and Natalie, for stepping up and playing this season, and they have all immensely improved,” added Roudi. Alexandra Foster recently returned from a concussion and played a key role in the offense.