Varsity Girls Lacrosse Preview

High Expectations for Lady Paladin Squad that Reached GHSA Final Four, Set School Record for Wins in 2019

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls lacrosse team has made a lot of strides since becoming a varsity sport in 2017.

In its third varsity season, the FCS squad advanced to the Final Four of the 2019 GHSA Class A-AAAAA Girls Lacrosse Championships, and finished with a school-record 17-2 mark. In 2018, the Lady Paladins qualified for the state tournament in its second varsity campaign.

Weather permitting, the Lady Paladins open the season at Bob Lord Field on Feb. 11 against 5A Union Grove High School at 6 p.m. The team takes on 7A Wheeler High School at home on Feb. 12 at 5:45 p.m.

What's the outlook for Fellowship's fourth varsity season?

"It looks bright," said Tracy Morgan, the school's director of varsity girls lacrosse. "Our sophomore returners have been most impressive in that they've stepped onto the field this season and have displayed a lot of growth and maturity. The juniors are our smallest class in numbers, but are an experienced group of players who prepared all summer. Our preparation for 2020 really shows."

The Lady Paladins are now 36-20 all-time in varsity girls lacrosse. Several of the seniors have played on the team since they were freshmen.

"The seniors have proven to be strong and compassionate leaders and the freshman have really made their mark by showing up like a toy that's been wound up and ready to play," Morgan said. "We have a stronger schedule this year and this team has impressed us with their readiness and ability to get on the field and play hard."

This year's squad will have plenty of speed, and should have a tough defense.

"Speed and defense is probably our one-two punch this year," Morgan said. "In addition to having Abby Beard for her final season, junior Sophia Mahlke and the addition of transfer Avery Scherer and freshmen Ella Nokes, Ella Hargett and Ava Menna gives us speed up and down the field. Add to that our maturity on defense with senior goalie Cary Guthrie and senior defender Suzanne Moore, along with sophomore Addison Taylor and juniors Rachel Scheutze and Sophia Mahlke, we've got a brink wall on the defensive end."

The team's offense should be very strong once again.

"We've already got an arsenal of strong and tricky shooters in returners Brooke Beard and Lexi Menna, along with a solid ball handler up top, Charlotte Berg."

Morgan said last year's 17-2 is something this team is proud off, and helps them set the bar high for 2020. The team's only two losses last season were to the state Class A-5A finalists.

Despite all this team's strengths, Morgan pointed to some areas for growth opportunity.

"Complexity of the defense and offense is where we want to go with this team," she said. "Sarah Nudelman is the newest addition to our coaching staff, and her athletic history of playing and coaching gives us a lot of strength in the goalie position and on defense. Couple that with the history we are now creating with this team, and we have challenged their lax IQ and plan to add some really fun elements on attack and defense."

Morgan and coach Allison Senft have been part of the program from the beginning.

"We are so grateful for this community and how they've embraced us," Morgan said. "We changed things up pretty drastically when we got here, with things like run tests, book reading requirements and personal development challenges. The athletes and the families embraced us so quickly. They had faith in all that surrounded us and jumped on board and off we went. I'd have to say that the support of [former assistant coach] Jeff Buchweitz and Athletic Director David Lowery in addition to the players and their families were what really launched this team."