By Jim Newell
The Lake Orion girls varsity lacrosse team is 14-0 after a 17-3 victory over Rochester Adams on Monday night.
Now, the Dragons face their toughest opponent of the season, undefeated Midland, tonight on the road. Midland is one of the top-ranked teams in the state – sixth on LaxNumbers.com – and has two of the state’s best scoring threats.
Midland junior Emma Murphy broke a state record for most goals in a game, scoring 17 goals against Grand Blanc on April 27. In the same game, Midland senior Grace Wilson broke the state assist record, tallying 16 assists.
While the Dragons, ranked 14th in the state by LaxNumbers.com, will have to play their best game against Midland, the team is certainly capable of pulling out the win.
Lake Orion head coach Emily Vican knows that Midland will be the team’s greatest challenge of the season thus far, but she has faith in her team.
“I think them getting this far is just unbelievable. To come back from last year not playing at all, to this year is just incredible. They’re hungry, they want to play,” Vican said.
For Vican, the way Lake Orion played against league rival Clarkston on April 30, pulling out a dominant 23-10 win on the road without their starting goalie, junior Paige Walker, showed the coach that her team is capable of overcoming any obstacle.
“The girls surprised me with Clarkston. I was nervous all day going into our Clarkston game, because Clarkston is a very good, aggressive team…the defense really stepped up,” Vican said. “Midland is going to be tough, but if I can get them to play the way they played at Clarkston I think we might have a good chance.”
One of the Dragons’ greatest strengths is the cohesion on the team – the players all support one another, genuinely enjoying playing together and have avoided any divisiveness.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team. They get along so well,” Vican said. “That’s been my thing from the beginning. I told them attitude is number one. You can create a good player; you cannot create a good attitude. I think it works for them because to be a good player on the field you have to be a good teammate off the field.”
Lake Orion is also well-balanced, with a strong attack and solid defense and depth from the bench. The Dragons have outscored their opponents 236 – 64 through 14 games.
“Our goalie is just unbelievable. Sometimes I tell her, ‘Paige, you carried the team on that one.’ I have to give her some credit too, because her save percentage is 71 percent, which is unbelievable.”
Vican also praised assistant coach Marta Davila and her work with the team’s defense. Two of the Dragon defenders – seniors Julia Ames and Amelia Stevenson – have signed to play lacrosse at Albion college.
Lake Orion plays Chippewa Valley on Friday to finish the regular season, and then plays Oxford on May 24 in the first round of the playoffs. The Dragons have previously beaten Chippewa Valley 17-1 in April.
The Dragons beat Oxford 14-7 on May 5 and were never in danger of giving up their lead.
Sophomore Quinn McElroy scored five goals in the victory. Seniors Natali Maki and Sydney Myszenski had two goals, with Maki tallying an assist as well.
Freshman Morgan Vasquez had three goals and one assist, while freshman Gina Haddad and sophomore Kate Shifferd each added a goal.
Senior Bella Denton had two assists and senior Audrey Giacolone and sophomores Reagan Haas and Sophia Beemer all had assists.
Junior goalie Paige Walker faced 22 shot, making 15 saves.