A state championship has long eluded the Lassiter girls lacrosse program, but that may not be the case for long.
The Lady Trojans came close to upsetting heavily favored Milton in last year’s Class AAAAAA state championship game, losing by only three goals after leading in the first half. Coach Faith Harmeyer was quoted afterwards as saying, “I would have liked to have this one for the seniors, but we’ll get it.”
Though Lassiter graduated Johnna Fusco and Spencer Hansen, it’s bringing back nearly everyone else. The returning Lady Trojans haven’t forgotten how close they came to dethroning Milton, who have won eight of the nine state championships offered since lacrosse became a sanctioned sport in 2005.
“We’re definitely using the Milton loss as fuel,” senior midfielder Alex Fusco said. “Our No. 1 goal is to win a state championship, and we talked about putting in the extra time that we didn’t do last year.”
Seniors Lucy Mills and Alexa Daugherty and juniors Jill Rankin and Alana Abbott are back at attack, and all four are aggressive shooters. If any of those players should miss time, there are as many as six who could fill in.
Lassiter’s midfielders and defenders are known primarily for their speed.
Fusco, senior Cydney Tutchton and junior Amy Christian are expected to bolster the midfield. Fusco and Tutchton know each other well, having come up through the junior program.
Fusco has shifted to the middle this season from defense, where senior Erin Gustafsson and junior Becca Danforth are returning to their starting posts. Senior Emily Hohl and junior Alyssa Gattis are also back.
“We are way ahead as we usually are at this point,” Harmeyer said. “Our defense and attack are solid. They came in pre-conditioned. We’re going to be able to do a lot of things early this year, which is nice.”
Lassiter will be breaking in a new goalkeeper this season, and it appears that freshman Cara Anderson is the frontrunner to be the starter. According to Harmeyer, Anderson came up through Lassiter’s junior program, and she’s fearless and not afraid to come out of the goal.
Last year’s starting goalkeeper, Lauren Wetherhead, who had 17 saves against Milton in last year’s state championship game, won’t playing this season due to injury, Harmeyer said.
To tune up for a potential playoff run, Lassiter will head to Florida in late March and face teams from Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. The Lady Trojans are also scheduled to face three schools from Tennessee during spring break.
Playing in Area 2AAAAAA, Lassiter will see Milton during the regular season, along with east Cobb rival Walton, which is returning the bulk of its team and is hungry for its first state title.
Lassiter won a 13-11 thriller over Walton in last year’s state semifinal, avenging a loss to the Lady Raiders during the regular season.
Like Lassiter, Walton is quick in all areas of the field.
Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - After the sting of finals loss Lassiter strives for title
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