HS Wrap 2017: Rudy Leads Novato (Calif.) To Repeat Title Despite Challenges

Novato (Calif.) junior attacker Charlie Rudy is this year's Epoch/US Lacrosse West Region Player of the Year.

After graduating 2016 Epoch/US Lacrosse West Region Player of the Year Jensen Neff, the Novato (Calif.) High School girls’ lacrosse team wasn’t so certain it would still have the possession advantage this season.

That meant the Hornets needed to take advantage of every scoring opportunity they could.

Junior attacker Charlie Rudy made sure that wasn’t an issue. Despite a challenging schedule that included wins over five West Region-ranked teams, she still managed to amass 160 goals and 62 assists to lead Novato (25-1) to a third straight North Coast Section Division I championship.

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

Rudy is the 2017 Epoch/US Lacrosse West Region Girls’ Player of the Year.

“We worked on that this year because we knew every possession was going to be valuable,” Rudy said. “We didn’t know 100 percent we were going to get the ball back like we did with Jensen, so I really wanted to do everything I could to help my team score goals and win games.”

Her 160 goals is believed to be a national record, but definitely is the most recorded on MaxPreps.com since the site began tracking girls’ lacrosse stats in 2008. Autumn McMillan, from Tecumseh (Mich.) had 157 goals in 2010.

Rudy said she became away of the record halfway through the season but didn’t think she would get it and she focused more on just helping Novato to the NCS title. Coach Rory Daly was less surprised by her final stats – which she ultimately credited to her midfielders getting her the ball.

“I see how hard she works year-round, playing club, putting in hours in the offseason and summer,” Daly said. “She stays in shape and always has a stick in her hand so nothing surprised me.”

Impressed is probably the better word for how Daly reacts to Rudy’s production, especially considering how small of a percentage Rudy actually handled the ball. A lot of her work came from off-ball movement.

Most of Rudy’s goals came on fastbreaks, and she usually scored so quickly opponents never had an opportunity to stop her. When they did, that just freed up her teammates to score, thus leading to her 62 assists.

“Even with the ranked teams and good teams we play, she doesn’t dominate the ball and need the ball to score,” Daly said. “Teams can’t double-team or run zone on her because so much work off ball. If she does get the ball, they can try to run a double and set up their defense for her, but she holds the ball two seconds to get a shot off. It’s too quick to do what they want to do with her. She works well within the offense. To score 160 goals but also have 62 assists speaks to that.”

Rudy especially turned up the heat after Novato took an upset loss to Davis (Calif.), 10-9 on April 8, to end a 43-game win streak that included March victories over Western powerhouses Colorado Academy (Colo.) and St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.).

Novato went up to Oregon that next week and blew through three of the state’s best teams, most notably routing West-ranked Lake Oswego 19-6. Rudy had 10 goals on 10 shots in that game.

“That loss was hard for us, but we wanted to make sure it never happened again and that helped us so much after that,” Rudy said. “We just wanted to go and show that loss doesn’t represent us at all. We wanted to go show what we were capable of, so when we got back to California, we were ready to go.

“I never want to lose so I’m always going to do everything I can to help my team win but especially after that.”

Daly said that Oswego game was one where he almost stopped coaching and just “let the game come to her.”

“Everyone feels it when she gets rolling, and we find her whether in transition or on cuts,” Daly said. “It’s not coached. Everyone feels it. That game she just carried us. We had a running clock after the first half and never looked backed.”

Novato has another year with Rudy leading the way before she heads off to the University of Colorado. Though she isn’t so sure she can top this season, she hopes to become more of a team leader as a senior.

Daly believes the sky is the limit for what Rudy can accomplish.

“She’s the most confident player I’ve seen on the lacrosse field,” he said. “There is no spot she can’t get to and no shot she can’t make. When you have that type of skill mixed with confidence, that’s the key for her. She plays with a bit of a chip on her shoulder and plays – I don’t want to say angry- but she hates to lose and will do everything she can to win. Her attitude as important as her skill, and that’s what makes her so good.”



School: Novato (Calif.)
Year: Junior
Position: Attacker
Stats: 160 goals, 62 assists, 31 ground balls
Coach Rory Daly: “Charlie is the focal point of every defense we play. She adjusted her game to deal with the different looks. Most impressive is how many of her goals are assisted. She is not ball dominant -- she plays within the offense and her off-ball movement is what frees her up for most of her goals. Besides being a pure goal scorer, her vision and unselfish play set up her teammates, as shown by her 62 assists. Her work in the ride is also every bit as much of her game as the goals. She is the complete player and had a pretty historic season.”
Also notable: Catriona Barry, St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.); Lauren Gilbert, Lake Oswego (Ore.); Grace Houser, Mater Dei (Calif.); Kelly McKinnon, Torrey Pines (Calif.); Bridget Sutter, Colorado Academy (Colo.)


1. Torrey Pines (Calif.), 23-0

The Falcons beat Poway 15-5 to claim the CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship and cap their first perfect season. Kelly McKinnon led the team with more than 90 goals this season, as Torrey Pines led the San Diego area with 15.04 goals per game and a 9.38 average goal differential.  

2. Novato (Calif.), 25-1

The Hornets beat five West-ranked teams en route to their third straight North Coast Section Division I championship, which came with a 22-10 stampede of ranked California High in the final. Charlie Rudy (Colorado) had 160 goals and 62 assists for the season, while senior Allie Level added 91 goals and 69 assists. Novato’s lone loss was a one-goal decision against Davis (Calif.), which it avenged in the section quarterfinals.

3. Colorado Academy (Colo.), 17-2

The Mustangs collected their third straight state title with an 8-5 win over Cherry Creek (Colo.) to cap an impressive season that included a marquee victory over California powerhouse St. Ignatius Prep. Colorado Academy was unbeaten in-state, as its two losses were against Novato and nationally-ranked Loyola Academy (Ill.). Nellie Turnage (78 groundballs, 34 takeaways, 68 draw wins) and goalie Bridget Sutter (5.0 goals against average, 60 percent save rate) were key to the Mustangs’ run.

4. St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) 10-6

The Wildcats ended a tough season on a high note, cruising to a 14-6 win over former No. 5 California High (Calif.) on May 2. Three of their losses came against teams that have been nationally-ranked this season and two others were against the No. 2 and 3 teams in the West. St. Ignatius has no postseason, as the West Bay Athletic League disbanded for girls’ lacrosse and the Central Coast Section offers no tournament. Catriona Barry led the Wildcats with 48 goals, 22 assists and 80 draw controls.

5. California High (Calif.), 18-4

The Grizzlies beat San Ramon Valley (Calif.) 20-11 in the North Coast Section Division I semifinals but couldn’t keep up with Novato in the final, as they dropped their second loss to a ranked opponent. Their two other defeats were one-goal games. Isabella McHugh led the team with 78 goals and 14 assists, and Marissa Leonardi added 72 goals and 17 assists.

6. Lake Oswego (Ore.), 20-2

The Lakers claimed their second straight title with a 13-3 win over Oregon Episcopal (Ore.) in the OGLA final. Lauren Gilbert finished the season with 97 goals, 40 assists, 181 draw controls and 82 ground balls to lead the team, which was perfect against in-state opponents. Oswego suffered a 13-12 loss at Bishop Moore (Fla.) on March 28 and its only other slip-up came against Novato.

7. Cherry Creek (Colo.), 15-4

The Bruins ended their season with an 8-5 loss to Colorado Academy in the state championship game for a third year in a row, as the 10-time champions came up short in their 20th straight finals appearance. Pearl Schwartz led Cherry Creek with 56 goals, 13 assists and 136 draw wins, and goalie Megan Patrick posted a 5.9 goals against average.

8. Mater Dei (Calif.), 16-5

After beating Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.) 13-9 in the Orange County final, the Monarchs rolled to a 21-11 win over Redondo to repeat as CIF Southern Section champions. Grace Houser (California) led the team with 90 goals, 23 assists and 97 draw wins this season, while Lauren Gonzales added 60 goals and 21 assists.

9. Eastside Catholic (Wash.), 15-3

The Crusaders avenged their two in-state losses in the Final Four to repeat as state champions. After beating Issaquah (Wash.) 15-11 in the semifinals, they topped previously unbeaten Bainbridge Island (Wash.), 16-11, in the championship. Eastside’s other loss was a 13-12 decision against Lake Oswego. Midfielder Olivia Jacobsen was one of the state’s four All-Americans.

10. Menlo (Calif.), 17-2

The Knights claimed the West Bay Athletic League Foothill Division tournament championship with an 8-3 win over Menlo-Atherton (Calif.) after knocking out Sacred Heart Prep (Calif.) 13-7 in the semifinals. Charlotte Swisher finished with a team-high 54 goals to go along with six assists, and Indie Varma led the team in points with 44 goals and 27 assists.

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