More Normal Conditions Expected in the West for Girls' Lacrosse Season


Micah Shin played a significant role for Newbury Park in 2021.

Experience was an issue for high school lacrosse teams around the country last year after missing the 2020 campaign because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but some of the top girls’ programs in the West this season are benefiting from their young players getting more chances in the return to play.

Top-ranked Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.), No. 4 La Jolla (Calif.), No. 7 Newbury Park (Calif.) and No. 8 Torrey Pines (Calif.) are among those that relied heavily on underclassmen and come back with plenty of firepower in 2022.

That should make for a competitive season out West, as now those players have a year under their belts and a chance to shine in more normal conditions as pandemic restrictions continue to lighten.

Foothill graduated just five players from its CIF Southern Section Division I championship squad and returns three attackers who scored 40 goals or more during that 18-0 campaign, including standout senior Elena Torres and junior Zoey Stephens.

La Jolla finished as the CIF San Diego Section Open Division runner up for a second straight season and returns an experienced roster led by senior midfielder/defender Hailey Dommers, senior midfielder/attacker Luca Demaio and juniors Delaney Walsh, Ella Stephens, Hayden Gawell and Cate Alexander.

“Coming off of losses in the 2021 and 2019 championships, this team is hungry,” La Jolla coach Kitty Cullen said. “A majority of the players have been playing with one another since they first played lacrosse at the La Jolla Youth level. They are an exceptional group of athletes.”

Torrey Pines is another of those San Diego teams that will be tough to beat. The Falcons dropped three games to La Jolla last year, including once in the CIF San Diego Open Division semifinals, but they are viewed as an up-and-coming squad in 2022 with senior Reese Loseke and sophomore Laurel Gonzalez combining for 86 goals last season.

Newbury Park graduated just four players that contributed heavily during their 15-2 run last year, which ended with a loss to Foothill in the Southern Section final. The team has some solid seniors this year but even some standout juniors and sophomores impressed in their first high school campaigns in 2021.

Junior attacker Lindsay O’Toole and sophomore attackers Reagan Laubner and Micah Shin all played significant roles and will be key pieces in 2022.

“Our expectations are to go to the CIF championship game again and advance to play San Diego teams,” coach Michelle Yarger said. “[We have a] strong senior class with exceptional leadership … and some standout young players that contributed last year.”

Teams in Washington and Oregon didn’t get as much experience in 2021 after late starts and pandemic restrictions limited their schedules. No. 5 Mercer Island (Wash.), for example, played just nine games, and there were no playoffs. They will all be looking forward to a more complete season this year.

Second-ranked Colorado Academy lost a talented senior class that had never lost a high school game and is rebuilding its entire defense, but the Mustangs still return five of their seven top scorers and a really solid midfield that includes senior Maya Kendall (Dartmouth), junior Anna Colpack (Stanford) and sophomore Charlotte Corkins.

Unranked Cherry Creek is looking to get back on the map after missing the state championship for the first time in 22 years. Youth might have factored into that, but coach Bailey Zerr Tremaroli believes the end of that streak served as a wake-up call to the team and a big motivator going into this season.

The Bruins return all but three players to their roster and “have fantastic senior leadership” going into 2022. Top returners include senior midfielder Lily Assini (Colorado), junior midfielder Sawyer Billings (Stanford), sophomore goalkeeper Charlotte Morton, senior defender Izzy Whitt (Colorado Mesa) and senior attacker Molly Trelkeld.

“I believe our team has come in with a much better attitude and toughness than in years past,” Tremaroli said. “It is no secret that last season was the first time our team hadn't appeared in the Colorado state championship in 22 years. The burden of ‘keeping the streak alive’ was a lot of pressure on our players and coaches, and finally breaking it was a blessing in disguise. Our mental toughness and ‘play to win,’ rather than ‘playing not to lose,’ attitude this year has been a great refresh for our team.”

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