A young Marshall High girls’ lacrosse team has enough talent where it should show marked improvement from last years’ Statesmen team that finished 1-11.
Marshall, under second year head coach Andrew Freeman, lost its season opener last Thursday night, 16-9, in a high-scoring, non-district contest played at Falls Church High School.
But Freeman was not dis-pleased with his team’s play in the setback to the improving Jaguars.
"We have some talent, but we’re pretty young," said Freeman, who was the Marshall programs’ head JV coach for two years before taking over the helm of the varsity program prior to the 2007 season. "Falls Church really impressed me. They have four players who are really good and they played as a team. I was glad to see our team play well. We moved the ball well amongst ourselves."
Marshall was not scheduled to play any games over spring break week, but Freeman said the club would practice a few times. The team’s next game is scheduled for Thursday, March 27 when the Statesmen open up their Liberty District schedule with a home game against Langley.
Marshall’s top player this spring is junior midfielder Nicole Brown, a team captain and one of the Northern Region’s premier players.
"She’s just a phenomenal player," said Freeman. "When she has the ball, she draws a lot of attention. She’s just a great athlete and sees the field well. She has a good shot and will learn to master it by next year."
Last year, Brown played more of a defensive role for the Statesmen because that is where the team needed to utilize her skills most. She earned Second Team All-District honors.
"She’s a potential, shutdown defender with her intelligence and athletic ability," said Freeman. "She can just lock down on one player and make it hard for them to get a quality shot."
<b>Brown is one</b> of 11 juniors on the Marshall roster this season, which bodes well for next year when each of those players will have another year of varsity experience under their belts.
Another key junior is goalie Charlotte Miller, who, like Brown, is a team captain. Miller earned Second Team All-District accolades last year and could be even tougher in the net this season.
"She has a good chance to be First Team this year," said Freeman. "She’s really finding herself [at the position]. Last year as a sophomore she had the position down pretty well. What she lacked was that goalie presence. This year, she is showing a leadership role and most of her teammates look at her as a leader."
In all, Marshall has five team captains, all of them being juniors. Along with Miller and Brown, the teams other three captains are midfielders Lee Hughes and Emma Chafetz, as well as midfielder/defender Margaret Goodnight.
A sophomore, attack Mallory Grant, is one of the Statesmen’s top players, as well. Grant started last year as a freshman and was second in the voting for the team’s Varsity Player of the Year honors. She has a good grasp of the game’s basics and is an exceptional ball-handler and shooter.
"She has top stick skills and a very wicked shot," said coach Freeman, of Grant’s game. "She has all the fundamentals to be a top player in the Liberty District."
Time will tell if things come together better for Marshall this season. There is certainly talent to work with. Freeman remains optimistic that the Statesmen can have a good spring.
"I expect us to be more competitive than we were last year," he said. "One thing I really like about this group of girls is that they want to play together. I really can’t ask for anything more than that."