HS Wrap 2017: Deehan Leads Milton (Ga.) Back to the Top

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Milton (Ga.) goalie Bridget Deehan, headed to Notre Dame in the fall, led the Eagles to the Georgia state title and No. 1 South Region ranking.


Bridget Deehan didn’t take anything for granted this spring.

The senior goalie for the Milton (Ga.) girls’ lacrosse team fully committed to helping her team reclaim the Georgia High School Association 6A/7A championship that it lost in 2016.

Deehan and the Eagles accomplished that overarching goal when they beat Cambridge 13-4 on May 20 to regain state champion status. It was the third title for the outgoing senior class, and as the catalyst, Deehan is the Epoch/US Lacrosse South Region Player of the Year. The Eagles, meanwhile, finished No. 1 in the Nike/US Lacrosse South Region Top 10 (see below).

Nike/US Lacrosse High School Rankings
National Boys' Top 25 | National Girls' Top 25
Northeast Boys' Top 10 | Northeast Girls' Top 10
Mid-Atlantic Boys' Top 10 | Mid-Atlantic Girls' Top 10
South Boys' Top 10
| South Girls' Top 10
Midwest Boys' Top 10
| Midwest Girls' Top 10
West Boys' Top 10
| West Girls' Top 10

“I just wanted to go out and graduate, finish the season, knowing I gave it my all,” she said. “In the weight room, practice, games, across every component that goes into winning a state title, I wanted to give it my all. I checked myself every day. And there would be a day or two when I said, ‘I could have improved, done more reps, or something.’ So I definitely checked that I was giving everything.”

Deehan finished the year with 206 saves and a 62-percent save percentage, despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the region. She also was the Georgia Player of the Year.

“She was the heart and soul of our team,” coach Tim Godby said. “She was the vocal leader. She led by example and hard work. She was a coach on the field for us. She coached the defense during games, always directing the defense on how to play and what to do. She made a lot of saves and started our offense in transition with her clears. She made great clears and was able to get the ball downfield. She played an all-around complete game throughout the season and was a huge key to our success.”

Deehan, who will play college lacrosse at Notre Dame next year, said stepping into the leadership role was a natural extension of being the goalie.  This was her second season starting. She had committed to Notre Dame even before she became the full-time varsity goalie.

“Being the goalie, you naturally step into that position,” she said. “And being designated a captain, it just came. Coach Godby gave me a lot of opportunities to step up by asking my opinion on what set to run or what I thought about a situation or a player. It was a great opportunity.”

Deehan, like the rest of her teammates, was spurred by the loss to Walton (Ga.) in the 2016 championship game, which ended a run of six consecutive titles. Milton has won 11 of 13 championships since the Georgia High School Athletic Association sanctioned the sport.

“It impacted everyone,” Godby said. “The majority of our team was returning this season. We had only lost six players from the previous year and only four starters. When you lose a game like that, it forces you to reevaluate what you’ve been doing and what you need to improve upon.

“One thing we talked about was leadership, and Bridget took it upon herself to be that leader on the field, off the field, in practice, in the offseason. That was huge.”

Milton finished 19-4, with all four losses coming to quality out-of-state opponents – three of which finishing in the national top 10. No. 1 McDonogh (Md.) and No. 8 Bishop Ireton (Va.) won state titles. No. 9 St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) were runners-up.

The Eagles also won six games against out-of-state foes, highlighted by a win over then-No. 21 Conestoga (Pa.), and Godby said Deehan was a factor while constantly being tested.

“Obviously, it’s good to have a goalie that makes great plays for you,” he said. “She played great against McDonogh, even though it was lopsided. We took Bishop Ireton to three overtimes. Conestoga, Robinson (Va.), Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.) — she was big in those games. It was great to have an additional element like her backing up our defense.”

One of Deehan’s strongest memories came during her sophomore year, when she came off the bench in the state championship game and made several saves after the starting goalie drew a yellow card. Deehan kept Milton in the game during the minutes she played, and the Eagles went on to win.

But winning it all as a senior was even better, she said.

“Definitely, I was a starter and so were nine other girls in my class,” Deehan said. “I’ve been playing with these girls practically my whole life. They’re my team and my best friends. Everything was so much sweeter this year.”







EPOCH/US LACROSSE SOUTH REGION PLAYER OF THE YEAR

BRIDGET DEEHAN

School: Milton (Ga.)
Year: Senior
Position: Goalie
Stats: 206 saves, 62-percent save percentage
Coach Tim Godby: “She’s always been good. We knew we had a great asset to have her as goalie for us, but what she improved at most was her leadership. She really stepped up as a senior and was the leader for the team this year.”
Also notable: Ali Beehuizen, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.);  Griffin Gearhardt, Hutchison (Tenn.);  Jordan Lappin, Cardinal Gibbons (Tenn.); Mary Markwordt, Blessed Trinity (Ga.); Tess Muerling Apex (N.C.); , Charlotte North, Episcopal School of Dallas (Texas); Emma Grace Wisdom, Lassiter (Ga.); Caitlyn Wurzburger, American Heritage-Delray (Fla.)

NIKE/US LACROSSE SOUTH REGION TOP 10 (FINAL)

1. Milton (Ga.), 19-4

The Eagles reclaimed the GHSA 6A/7A state championship with a convincing 13-4 win over Cambridge (Ga.). It was the 11th title in 13 years for the Eagles, who finished as the state runners-up in 2016. They prepared for a return to the title game with a brutal schedule that featured 10 games against out-of-state opponents. Although Milton lost four, including a tough run of three consecutive in mid-March, clearly the scheduling paid off, as no team in Georgia could touch the Eagles. They graduate 11 seniors, including All-Americans Bridget Deehan, Sophie Baez, Courtney Hutchinson, Hannah Demis and Sydney Catts.

2. Hutchison (Tenn.), 20-1

The Sting won their seventh consecutive TGLA championship, beating Harpeth Hall (Tenn.) 18-7. Their lone loss came late in the year to Walton (Ga.) at the end of a road trip to Florida. Hutchison won five games against out-of-state opponents, including three straight in an impressive road trip to California. The Sting lose All-American Griffin Gearhardt (104 goals, 77 assists), one of the best players in the region, to graduation, but fellow All-American Elizabeth Farnsworth (84 goals, 47 assists) returns. The graduating seniors compiled an 82-8 record, including 64 consecutive wins against Tennessee opponents.

3. Bishop Moore (Fla.), 20-4

The Hornets beat St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) in double overtime to claim their first FHSAA state title and avenge a regular-season loss to the Raiders. Bishop Moore also lost to Vero Beach, Dr. Phillips and Mill Creek (Ga.) before putting together a 12-game winning streak to end the season. This was a veteran, experienced team that loses 12 seniors, including seven starters and All-Americans Nicole Blystone and Jeanne Kachris. Goalie Regan Alexander (69 saves) will return along with Ellie Stricker (36 goals, 20 assists) and Makayla Hofmann (35 goals, 35 assists) at attack.

4. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), 18-2

The Raiders were the Florida state runners-up after falling to Bishop Moore in the final to end a 16-game win streak. Their only other loss was against American Heritage-Delray (Fla.) in the third game of the season – one they avenged with an overtime win in the final stage before the state semifinals. STA loses All-American Ali Beekhuizen, but much of the team remains intact with 10 starters set to return next year, including All-American Carly Steinlauf. The Raiders started four freshmen and one sophomore at the state tournament. 

5. Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), 20-2

The Crusaders beat Myers Park (N.C.) 19-12 to win their second consecutive NCHSAA state championship and cap an impressive season that included five wins against out-of-state opponents. Their losses came to top-ranked Milton (Ga.) and St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.), which is ranked No. 9 nationally. Although the Crusaders lose All-American Jordan Lappin (87 goals, 53 assists), they return Grace Nelson (44 goals), Grace New (40g) and Elizabeth Wilson (39g), as well as Caroline Kimel (49 assists) and goalie Gabby Young (89 saves).

6. American Heritage-Delray (Fla.), 19-1

The Stallions suffered their only loss of the season in the third round of the Florida state playoffs, losing to eventual runner-up St. Thomas Aquinas. They were led by rising sophomore Caitlyn Wurzburger, who finished the season with 101 goals and 115 assists. The All-American, who committed to Syracuse in eighth grade, scored 18 goals and had 27 assists in four games against the teams that advanced to the FHSAA Final Four. Wurzburger rarely played an entire game because coach John McClain routinely pulled his starters. 

7. Episcopal School of Dallas (Texas), 20-2

The Eagles capped an impressive season by winning their first Texas state championship. They avenged their only in-state loss by beating Hockaday (Texas) in the final. Their only other loss was to Radnor (Pa.), the PIAA runner-up in 2016. ESD loses All-Americans Charlotte North (93 goals, 20 assists) and Sydney Helbring (40 goals, 23 assists), but return two top scorers in Jay Browne (59 goals, 45 assists) and Anna Winkeler (65 goals, 25 assists). North amassed impressive stats despite missing the first five games of the season.

8. North Gwinnett (Ga.), 20-2

The Bulldogs’ dream season ended with a 16-3 loss to top-ranked Milton in the GHSA 6A/7A semifinals. It was their first appearance in the state final four. Their only other loss this year was a one-goal decision against Northview (Ga.). The Bulldogs lose their top two scorers in Haley Gorke (81 goals) and Elizabeth Blumthal (68 goals), but return Shannon Costelloe (68 goals). Costelloe led the team with 100 points. They will also have to replace goalie Samantha Goldstein (86 saves). 

9. Blessed Trinity (Ga.), 19-3

The Titans beat Kell (Ga.) 11-9 to win their second consecutive GHSA 1/5A state championship. After losing two of their first five games, the Titans won 16 of their last 17 games with the lone defeat in that stretch coming to Cambridge, which went on to finish as the 6A/7A state runner-up. Blessed Trinity graduates All-Americans Mary Markwordt (103 goals and 54 assists) and Sarah Flatt (61 goals, 13 assists) and goalie MacKenzie Driscoll (114 saves), but do return Kaley Attaway (59 goals, 20 assists).

10. Barron Collier (Fla.), 20-2

The Cougars advanced to the FHSAA Final Four, upending perennial power Vero Beach in the regional final. Their only losses were to state champ St. Thomas Aquinas and American Heritage-Delray. The Cougars lose six starters, including All-American Jo Imbriani, but return goalie Emo Chomo and midfielders Caroline Peterson, Madison Ryan and Julianne Derby. 

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