Spring Sports Preview: Girls lacrosse targeting Lakeside

Beat Lakeside.

In a nutshell, that’s the goal for the Bainbridge girls Varsity A lacrosse team.

This goal carries particular urgency for the seniors. The Lions have hung three straight state championship defeats on the Spartans, including last year’s 9-8 decision.

Down by three late in the game, Bainbridge mounted a furious rally but fell a single goal short.

“Our goal is to get the trophy for the seniors,” said coach Tami Tommila. “It gets old, saying that we learned something from going to state and losing.”

This year the league has expanded from 10 to 15 teams. Rather than the previous two-division setup with home-and-home games within the division and single games in the other division, teams meet just once.

The top eight make the playoffs.

Tommila is fully in favor of the new format.

“This way the truly strongest teams will be in the playoffs. It’s a great thing for the league.”

Based on Tommila’s assessment of the teams most likely to make the playoffs, Bainbridge appears to have a favorable schedule. After opening at Seattle Prep on Monday, the Spartans host the Tacoma Tigers two nights later.

They are also at home against Holy Names, Roosevelt, Mercer Island and Bellevue before the one regular season meeting with Lakeside at Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, April 29.

“They [Lakeside] haven’t beaten us here,” said Tommila, who hopes history repeats itself as this could be the game that decides the regular season champion and top seed in the playoffs.

In her quest for the title, Tommila is going with a roster of 17 girls, several short of the usual number.

One reason is the encouragement she gave her team to do another sport. Many chose cross country.

“We’re fitter and faster this year,” she said.

The heart of the team is the eight seniors.

Jo Wallace returns again as the goalie.

“She’s been a regular for three years,” Tommila said. “She wants to leave with a state championship.”

Rachel Harmon, who has been on varsity every year, heads the defense.

“She’s our anchor,” Tommila said. “She’s a great leader who leads by example on the field.”

Other senior defenders include Alyshia Von Houte, whom Tommila terms “the second-fastest kid on the team,” and “steady” Kelly MacWhorter.

Sally Baumgartner, another four-year varsity player, returns at midfield.

“She’s raring to go,” said Tommila. “She worked especially hard in the pre-season.

Center Mariah Walk is “our biggest weapon,” Tommila said.

“She’s the fastest player on the team. She led the league in almost everything except goals. She’s very unselfish.”

The other two seniors are Sarah Shea, who Tommila said will lead the attack, and Lucy Schlesser, the team’s top goal scorer last year.

Junior Sydney Whitaker – “another impact player” – will help in the attacking end, returning at full strength after missing much of last season due to illness.

Another junior, Delaney Larkin, is a transfer from Holy Names. Junior Jo Shea will help out on the defensive end.

A pair of sophomore midfielders, Junior Biggers – a starter as a freshman – and Liana Olson – will play key roles. So will fellow sophomores Abbey Love and Emma Entress, both of whom move up from the varsity B team.

A pair of freshmen round out the team. One is Chase McMahon, a former basketball player who is slotted for defense.

The other is Kelsey Mackin, whom Tommila believes can become an impact player.

“I was blown away by her,” Tommila said. “She’s one of the best athletes to come into the program.

“She has a humble-pie attitude, but she’s somebody to watch out for in our league for sure.”

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