Above in PANORAMIC
4/11 Kenston 13 ~ Roosevelt 1
Above in PANORAMIC
Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
March 28, 2019
With enough players to re-establish a junior varsity team this spring, the best days are yet to come for the Kenston girls lacrosse program under second-year head coach Patrick Benz.
Behind a four-goal performance by senior attacker Britta Treu, as well as two goals and two assists from junior attacker Lauren Liston, the Lady Bomber laxers put the hurt on visiting Lake Catholic, 13-4, last Thursday in Bainbridge Township.
Treu is one of three seniors in the program this year, after the Kenston girls graduated just two players in each of the last two seasons. Following a 4-13 campaign in 2017, eight of 10 rising seniors did not return in 2018.
Nonetheless, a sophomore-dominant team last season moved the program forward with an 8-10 campaign under then-new head coach Benz.
“We’re still fairly underclassman heavy,” he said. “And even so, this junior and sophomore class I’ve had since seventh grade in the youth program and have worked them through. So, I’m really confident in that next step that they’ve taken. And this year, I have good confidence in them continuing on the trend from last year.”
Benz said the key to getting the program back toward a winning environment is putting the organization on the right foundation.
“Instead of being just a social outlet, it’s now an actual athletic experience, and so we’re attracting more athletes to the game,” he said. “We’re getting kids from soccer. We’re getting kids from basketball. And so, you’re getting this more athletic-minded group, and it really lends to the culture of success, and athletic success, and putting in the work and the 10,000 reps it takes towards mastery. They all buy into that as athletes anyways.
“So, even with our freshman class, we’ve got three that have had experience before. But we’ve got these seven or eight new kids that have never played but have had athletic experience. And that’s what we’re excited about, because we can make athletes lacrosse players.”
The lone freshman on varsity this season is Lily Peters, who starts on defense with juniors Julia Piazza and Eden Kesler and senior Anna Sanders, the notorious extra-point kicker for the Bombers’ state-championship football team this past fall. Senior Sydney Vanderbilt also rotates in on defense.
Piazza, in particular, was a starting midfielder last year. Now on defense, she caused a team-high three turnovers against the Lady Cougars last week.
“She is just a critical element,” Benz said of Piazza. “She plays not only for our team, but she plays travel lacrosse, she’s being recruited collegiately and is looking to take advantage of that as she moves on in her career.
“And so, I think that her skill set is critical for us to not only stop the attacking team but to be able to transition. The transition is so important in not losing the ball, and certainly Julia is one that is the foundation of that defense and then transitioning to the attack.”
After Kenston owned a 5-0 lead at intermission and continued to build its lead in the second half of its triumph against Lake Catholic last Thursday, Benz moved Piazza back up to midfield, and she scored a goal.
Treu, who scored four goals, was also a midfielder last season, before making the position change to attack.
“It really shored that up,” Benz said about not relying just on the midfield to anchor the team. “We’re playing the game differently, and part of it is how we move the ball. So, our mantra is, ‘Get the ball,’ which means draws and groundballs are important. ‘Keep the ball,’ which is the mechanics, spacing and stick skills you need to not turn it over. And then, ‘Defend the ball.’
“So, we start with defense in mind, and the offense comes, because we’ve got the good hands at attack. And so, really, our philosophy begins with the defense when it comes to stopping the other team, which I think is critical. ‘Get the ball. Keep the ball. Defend the ball.’”
The Lady Bombers’ starting midfield unit is a trio of sophomores in Molly Hubert, Dylan Britton and Via Carriero, while junior middy Bella Benz rotates into play.
The “Get the ball,” part of the mantra starts on the draw control, with center middy Hubert taking the majority of the reps in the circle against Lake Catholic
“(Britton) plays on the attacking side of the circle, and really all three of them work together to control the draw,” Benz said of his sophomore trio. “But really (Hubert) and (Britton), their height is very similar, their extension is very similar, and the results have been really close. So, Molly got more work this game, but we’re really working both of them to become the elite draw specialists.”
Britton netted a goal and dished out two assists against Lake Catholic, while Carriero had one goal. Fellow lady sophomore Jenna Piazza, out of the attack, had two goals.
Joining Treu, Liston and the younger Piazza as scorers in the attack unit, juniors Sophie Kinnett and Peyton Raypholtz, who’s a member of the Bombers’ ice hockey team, also netted a goal apiece against Lake.
“We build plays to make a seamless progression so it becomes a motion offense that the other teams can’t keep up with,” Benz said about having eight different scorers. “And that’s kind of the idea behind it. It’s not like set and start, set and start. When we can get out sticks moving and take advantage of the mechanical skills, when those all work, it flows really nicely into our play progression, or motion offense, and we can get a lot of players involved.”
The Lady Bombers did have nine unforced turnovers last Thursday, but that’s where the mechanical skills come in, Benz said.
If the Lady Bombers develop their fundamentals to the point where they don’t have to focus so much on their sticks, then they can focus on what’s happening on the field, and their IQ improves, he said.
“And that’s really the step we’ve made this year, where they can take what they’re seeing and bring the feedback, and we can make adjustments, because they recognize some of the things that are happening,” Benz said. “So, we can worry less about the mechanics breaking down and hopefully minimize those unforced turnovers.”
In cage, sophomore Cameryn Walters collected seven saves against 11 shots she faced. Walters has stepped up in the absence of junior goalie Alex Akers, an all-conference selection last season who’s on injury reserve with a healthy return expected next week.
“Cameryn is doing a real nice job of stepping up without having the JV team last year,” Benz said. “She didn’t get as much development as we would have liked, but she’s doing a real nice job. And she also has the ability to work into our defense, too.”
When the Lady Bombers return from spring break, they’ll hit the road for four straight road games starting with Canfield at 7 p.m. April 1, followed by Louisville at 7 p.m. April 4, Walsh Jesuit at 2:50 p.m. April 6 and Orange at 7 p.m. April 8.
They will return home to host Kent Roosevelt at 6:30 p.m. April 11.
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Last night March 21, the Girls Lacrosse team had a game at home. Varsity defeated Lake Catholic 13-4. Congratulations to Julia Piazza, Treu(4), Kinnett, Liston(2), Jenna Piazza(2), Raypholtz, Britton and Carriero who all scored throughout last night’s game! The lady bombers have a current record of 1-1. Their next game is after spring break on… Continue Reading
The Kenston girls lacrosse team is ready for their 2019 season! The girls have their first scrimmage tonight March 12 at home! JV is at 5pm and Varsity is at 6:30pm. Their first official Varsity game is on Saturday, April 6 at 2:50pm vs Walsh. Last year they ended the season with a record of… Continue Reading
Lacrosse is one of the oldest sports we know of, it dates all the way back to the 17th century. Lacrosse has its origins in a tribal game played by Native Americans and by some other tribes in what is now the United States and Canada. There were hundreds of native men playing a ball game… Continue Reading
For all those interested in playing GIRLS LACROSSE in the Spring, and are NOT currently engaged in a Fall Sport, please attend the workout sessions from 7:00 to 9:00pm, Monday through Friday in the Weight Room. Ask for Coach Benz. Continue Reading