by Tom Utescher
After several frustrating seasons of being the runner-up lacrosse team in the Friends Schools League, the Germantown Friends girls broke through to take the title last spring. Obviously, they’d like to repeat, but it won’t be easy.
Traditional rival Friends Central recovered from its loss to the Tigers in the FSL final to win the 2014 Pennsylvania Independent Schools tournament, and the Phoenix are expected to present a strong challenge again this season.
Germantown’s Katie Bergstrom Mark, beginning her 15th season as head coach, advises, “Shipley is another team to look out for in our league. They had good results against some strong teams in Maryland during spring break, and that was without their regular goalie.”
The six players who graduated from last year’s GFS squad included veteran goalie Dana Schulman and several defensive mainstays in front of her.
Bergstrom Mark is going with a freshman in goal this year, but she’s not worried about that.
Ninth-grader Corin Grady, the coach pointed out, “has played a lot of club lacrosse, and in the first couple weeks this season she’s improved almost daily.”
In front of her, the varsity rookie will have a skilled and seasoned defender in Sarah Kane, one of six seniors on the active roster this year. Three other senior veterans are midfielders who pack a lot of scoring punch, Greta Meyer, Ava Schwemler, and Annie Tyson.
Schwemler, a product of Norwood Fontbonne Academy, signed with the University of Vermont last fall, while Meyer had already committed to Stanford University in her junior year. Tyson’s main sport is squash, which she’ll be playing at the University of Virginia. Kane will definitely play field hockey at Hamilton College, and is on the fence in regard to trying to play lacrosse, as well.
Another senior, Ellie Chalphin, has been tabbed to take the center draws for the Tigers. In the past, that duty fell to her classmate Grayson Melby, but Melby (a Stanford squash recruit) tore her ACL at the very end of soccer season, and is not likely to see lax action this spring. She is a team tri-captain, along with Meyer and Tyson.
Abby Clausen-Wolf, also a 12th-grader, is a newcomer to the varsity lacrosse squad, but Bergstrom Mark says her speed will be an asset on the field, along with the eye-hand coordination she developed from her years on the GFS tennis team.
Add in the experienced junior trio of Maddy Berg, Sunny Reardon, and Isabel Schmidt, and GFS will be able to fill most of the starting spots with varsity veterans. Another returning athlete who is expected to make an impact is sophomore Sophie Smith, who played on the varsity squad last spring as a freshman.
Abigail Gard and Carmen Turner are 11th graders who only picked up lacrosse last year, but both have a high sports IQ and have been important performers for the GFS field hockey team.
A number of younger players will be vying for varsity time this spring. Among the current crop of freshmen are Greta Meyer’s sister, Celia, and Lindsey Golden, who played varsity tennis last fall.
As Bergstrom Mark pointed out, “We have a lot of seniors, but this year there are a lot of teams that have a lot of seniors. It’ll be important to have some younger kids step up and fill in around them.”