Bumpy road

Posted 4/24/10

Courtney Johnson Having players from four local Highlands Ranch schools has been a blessing in many ways for the ThunderRidge girls lacrosse team. …

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Bumpy road


Courtney Johnson

Having players from four local Highlands Ranch schools has been a blessing in many ways for the ThunderRidge girls lacrosse team.

The girls have made friends around the city, and it allows the best talent to come together for the best chance of success.

This year, seniors attacker Kylie Smith and middie Nicole Krook signed a national letter of intent to play lacrosse in college, the first two in the team’s eight-year history to do so.

The unified team this season was 7-3 after a hard played loss in sudden death overtime to Heritage-Littleton 22-21 April 20. Heritage-Littleton was the team’s only regular season loss last year, as they finished 14-1.

Perhaps the most devastating part of that loss was that senior captain Smith was injured in the second half and may be out for rest of season with a broken collarbone. The loss is a tough blow to team.

“She was a four-year starter for us,” Grizzlies coach Alanna Gilbertson said. “She really helps the other girls keep composure and reminds them to keep their heads up.”

Eight-year coach Gilbertson, who coached the junior varsity-only team her first year, has never been prouder of the team then when they fought hard to the very end of their game against the Gryphons.

“That hard fought loss just made us 20-times stronger I think,” freshman attack Haley Kroll said. “It will bring the team closer while we continue to build trust and work on passing the ball.”

The team was undefeated at home being 4-0, 1-3 in the league and 3-3 on the road. After the loss to Heritage-Littleton, the team is ranked 12th in the state overall. Kroll leads the team with 26 goals followed by sophomore Samantha Stewart with 22.

This Grizzlies have a stronger bond than teams in the past.

“We all love to come to practice no matter how our day was because this is what we love to do,” said Kroll.

Sophomore defenseman Meredith Micho agrees.

“The team is really close and we just come together,” she said.

“Everyone brings each other up and is positive.” Gilbertson said earlier in the season.

One thing they have to work on is keeping the momentum up during the second half. Micho said the team tends to come out strong in the first half, but lose momentum in the second half until the players get it back.

“We call it the curse of the second half,” Kroll said.

Another weakness has been draw control. Gilbertson said the team gets beat on the draws too much.

After Heritage-Littleton, the team had one more conference game against Douglas County and four more non-conference games. Results of the game were unavailable before press time.

The Grizzlies are looking for post-season play for only the second time.

“We can’t afford another loss and need to finish off strong if we hope to make the tournament,” Micho said.

“I think we can go undefeated the rest of the season,” Gilbertson said. “Last year was our first year in the playoffs, and with nine seniors, they have a lot more confidence behind them after everything was so fresh and brand new last year.”


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