|Most Valuable Player recipient Nicky Waldeck '13 goes for a goal earlier this season.
Western Reserve Academy’s girls lacrosse team added some new faces – including two new coaches – to a solid group of veteran players this year to post a 15-win season.
Led by tri-captains Julia Ferguson ’12, Allison Forhan ’12 and Nicky Waldeck ’13, the Pioneers (15-5-1) just missed advancing to the finals of the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Association Tournament. After defeating Detroit Country Day and Sacred Heart, WRA tied Cranbrook, 8-8, losing out on a spot in the championship game because of a tiebreaker.
“We had a number of returning players, like Emily Kalis ’12, who always had the team ready to go, and we also had a lot of girls who stepped into the varsity role really well,” said first-year coach Britta Harman ’06. “Sarah Forhan ’15, Nora Ferguson ’15 and Hannah McKenzie ’15 all did a great job in their first year on the varsity. We had a really strong defensive unit as well, as Lindsey Wirtz ’13 led the defense along with Maggie Graves ’13, Pauline Van Dijck ’13, Audrey Brown ’13 and Maggie Wise ’14.”
The Pioneers were strong on offense, scoring in double figures in 15 games.
“We had a really strong midfield with a lot of speed and that helped us a lot,” Harman said. “Nicky, Allison, Julia, Maggie and Lindsey were incredible working together to get our offense going and also were quick enough to get back on defense.”
Waldeck earned the Most Valuable Player Award after scoring 87 goals.
“Nicky is a terror on the field for any team playing against us,” Harman said. “Her speed, natural athleticism and command of the field made her nearly unstoppable when she had the ball. It is incredible to think that she only began playing lacrosse three years ago.”
In addition to the MVP award, Waldeck was also named first team All-District, first team All-State and first team All-Midwest.
McKenzie was named the team’s Most Improved Player.
“In the beginning of the season, Hannah was not on our radar,” Harman said. “Her skills were average and her quiet demeanor on the field allowed her to blend in with the 50-plus girls trying out for the varsity team. By the time we came back from spring break, Hannah had put in the necessary time to improve her stick skills and found a drive to succeed – she definitely did not blend in anymore.
“Hannah’s eagerness to get to ground balls, unwillingness to leave her mark and field sense to read a play made her a vital member of our starting lineup and low-defense. To start on a varsity squad and play the entire game is unusual for anyone, let alone a freshman. With so much improvement in one season, we cannot wait to see her develop as a low-defense powerhouse over the next three years.”
Forhan and Ferguson received the Coaches/Spirit Award.
“Allison is a three-sport varsity athlete that came into this season ready to give it her all,” Harman said. “She is one of the most dedicated and passionate athletes I have ever seen. We frequently looked to Allison to drive the fire in our team and bring home important wins. As the fastest member of our team, Allison has the ability to set the pace and tone of a game purely by her desire to win and unwillingness to give up. Allison accepts nothing but perfection, and I can’t wait to see how she develops in her college career.
“Julia is also a player with a lot of heart and commitment. I knew that she deserved this award back in preseason and she has gone above and beyond with her team leadership ever since. As one of the faster members of the team, Julia usually finished conditioning before the majority of the team but, instead of going to find water or talk to her friends, Julia stood at the finish line to high five and cheer on every single member of the team as they finished. This kind of character, combined with her on-the-field leadership, superb ball control and relentless desire to win, make her a more than deserving winner of the spirit award.”
Forhan and Ferguson were also named second team All-District.
Several other players earned post-season honors, including Wirtz, honorable mention All-District; Waldeck and Wise, selected to the MSLA All-Tournament team; Allison Forhan, All-Midwest; and six players were named to the All-Great Lakes Region team: Wirtz, Allison Forhan, Julia Ferguson, Waldeck, Virginia Carter ’13 and Anne Wyman ’13.
Head Coach: Britta Harman '06
MVP: Nicky Waldeck
MIP: Hannah McKenzie
Coaches/Spirit Award: Allison Forhan and Julia Ferguson
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