Stafford Leader

Southern Girls Lacrosse Seeks Consistency as Young Players Rise

Spring Sports Preview
Apr 13, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Midfielder Alexis Maul will be one of several players relied on to develop consistent offense for the Southern Regional girls team.

It was clear through the first two games of the new season that the Southern Regional girls lacrosse team needed to find a new chemistry. Not only did the Rams lose some good players to graduation last June, but also leading scorer Shannon Lytle was forced to the sidelines with a knee injury at the end of basketball season.

“We are a very young team this year,” said coach Lori Johnson. “We have some core players who returned on defense, but losing Shannon is a big loss. We’re hoping to build on our youthfulness and be competitive in the division.”

Despite an opening-day 12-10 loss to Howell in which the Rams took the initial lead before giving up a bunch of goals later in the first half, the team expects to be one of the Shore Conference Class A South division title contenders. Toms River South handed Southern its second loss of the season with a 15-8 decision on March 31.

Once April arrived, the Rams not only ratcheted up their scoring during the next two games, they also clamped down on defense, registering victories of 13-2 over Central Regional and 14-5 against Brick.

Now Southern (2-2) needs consistency at all aspects of the game if the team is to keep winning. Johnson will rely on a handful of experienced players to lead the way. With Maddie Leyh on the attack, Brooke Little and Alexis Maul are expected to keep things moving in the midfield. The defense is anchored by Rachel Saur, Danielle Bialecki and Michelle Martin, along with goaltender Noelle Englebert.

Beyond that crew, a number of inexperienced players will be asked to develop quickly to help shape the squad for the future. That group consists of senior attackers Emily Brown and Dianna Mui; junior attack/midfielders Colleen Mason and Holly Yannacone; junior attacker Carmella Hall; sophomore midfielder Alex Matner; sophomore midfield/defenders Maitland Demand and Erika Barbera; sophomore defender/attacker Emily Brown; sophomore attacker Grace Cartagena; and sophomore defender Ava Ruff.

Against Brick on April 7, Yannacone scored six goals and gave out three assists to lead the way, while Mason scored three goals and added two assists. Demand tallied two goals, and Little handed out three assists.

Against the Golden Eagles on April 2, Southern received big scoring efforts from Yannacone, who had four goals; Mason and Demand, who each tickled the twine with three goals; and Little, who delivered four assists.

Through four games, Mason leads the Rams with 14 goals, while Yannacone has racked up 13 goals and 10 assists. Mason and Yannacone also lead the team in ground balls with 11, while Maul has snagged 10.

— David Biggy

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