The St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes girls lacrosse team trailed late in the first half of its May 2 matchup with St. Paul’s when head coach Kathy Jenkins shouted an instruction from the sideline.
"Look at Carly if you can!" she said.
Moments later, sophomore attack Carly Reed received a pass in front of the net and deposited her second goal of the afternoon, tying the score.
Midway through the second half, St. Stephen’s trailed by three when Reed showed the composure of a senior, asking Jenkins if the Saints should call a timeout. With the team regrouped, Reed scored a pair of goals and tallied an assist during the final 10 minutes, 12 seconds and St. Stephen’s held off St. Paul’s, 16-15, at SSSAS.
Getting the ball to Reed has led to good things for the Saints, who improved to 22-2 with the victory. Reed finished with five goals against the Gators, running her season total to 120 — one shy of the single-season school record set in 2009 by All-American Kelly Austin. With 31 assists, Reed’s single-season point total of 151 is already a school best.
Even more impressive is Reed approaching Austin’s career goal record of 233. Reed has 204, and depending on how far into the postseason the Saints advance, she could be the program’s all-time leading goal scorer by the end of her sophomore season.
Reed missed Tuesday’s game against Stone Ridge due to illness, leaving her two regular season games and the postseason to rewrite the prestigious program’s record book.
"She’s a great player," junior goalkeeper Katie Wiseman said. "She stays really composed in the game and she knows what she’s doing. [With] her height (5-foot-8), she can definitely get the ball off the draw and run it down [the field] — she’s incredibly fast. She not only does it for herself, she does it for the whole team, too. She has plenty of assists as well as goals. … She’s a team player and that’s what I like to see [from] her. She’s really respectful. She’s not selfish."
Reed’s ability was evident during her freshman season, when she scored 84 goals in 28 games. St. Stephen’s freshmen rarely play at the varsity level, Jenkins said, and no Saints ninth-grader prior to 2010 had scored even 30 goals.
While talented in her own right, Reed benefited last season from playing alongside a trio of senior attacks. She was able to exploit less-talented defenders while opponents focused on the elder Saints. This season, Reed is among the top goal-scorers in the nation, according to ESPNRISE.com, and draws an opponent’s top defender — and sometimes multiple defenders. While simply being aggressive was often enough to get the job done last season, Reed has had to exhibit patience in 2011. As a result, she has more than tripled her freshman assist total of 10.
"I think she’s now working hard on creating more space for herself," Jenkins said. "Last year, she didn’t have very many assists. She’s working hard to get more assists because she knows that she’s being face-guarded and they’re doubling and tripling her, so if she’ll back out of it a little bit and create space, we have one or two open all the time."
Reed has also grown into more of a leader. Last season, she had to overcome the fear of being a freshman not wanting to step on seniors’ toes. Also, while many Saints play lacrosse together from a young age at SSSAS, Reed enrolled at St. Stephen’s in the ninth grade after attending Alexandria Country Day School. This season, the Saints have only three seniors, none of whom are on the attack, which has helped Reed step into a new role.
"I definitely learned a lot last year," Reed said. "It was a new experience and I really warmed up to the varsity level. ... It’s a good feeling kind of being in charge, but then again, I’m not the oldest out there so I definitely have people to follow. … We only have three seniors this year and two of them are defenders, so I definitely feel like I should be a leader on the attack and lead the team."
Reed is one of many talented athletes on a Saints team looking to repeat as VISAA state champions. Wiseman made a clutch save with less than 20 seconds remaining against St. Paul’s, preserving a one-goal lead, and sophomore midfielder Besser Dyson finished with four goals. Junior midfielder Michelle Phillips is committed to Notre Dame, junior midfielder Paige Patterson is committed to North Carolina, and junior attack Katie Austin will join her sister, Kelly Austin, at Southern California. Senior defenders Hannah Mullen (Harvard) and Claire Curran (Yale) are headed to the Ivy League.
St. Stephen’s has a home game against Holton-Arms at 5:30 p.m. on May 5 and a road game against Holy Child at 5:30 p.m. on May 10 before the ISL at state tournaments.
While it would be easy to blend in among the many talented lacrosse players at St. Stephen’s, Jenkins said it’s Reed’s mentality that separates her from the pack and will one day make her the greatest goal-scorer at one of the nation’s top programs.
"She wants to score," Jenkins said. "You have attacks that are happy to score, but mentally, [Reed] is going to goal — she wants to get the goal. Kelly Austin was like that — she wanted to score. Kathleen Miller way back, wanted to score. … We’ve had some throughout the years. It’s a mentality that you’re going to go to goal and you’re going to put it in, and Carly has that mentality. We have other good attacks this year, but they don’t think of themselves how Carly does. …
"She’s going to break the all-time record easily."