JDCHS girls lacrosse second best in stateJun 30, 2022 09:07PM ● By Catherine Garrett
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
In a year when many teams may have folded under the adversity that several mid-season injuries brought, the Juan Diego Catholic High School girls lacrosse team instead battled to reach the 4A state championship game. After they cruised through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds against Green Canyon and Waterford—outscoring them 40 to 11—the Soaring Eagle squad fell to Bear River 12-8 in the title matchup at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman May 26.
“We came together as a family and pulled as one this season, even literally playing just varsity games and not JV,” said JDCHS head coach Shaun Judd. “We had senior captain Rachel Strelow suffer a lacerated kidney where she was hospitalized for three days along with others getting concussions, hip and knee injuries, but these girls sure fought through it all.”
In the state quarterfinals May 21, the third-seeded Juan Diego team beat Green Canyon 16-2 behind seven goals and one assist from freshman Olivia Prosper and four goals and an assist from senior Nola Swales-Christensen.
Against Waterford in the semis May 24, the Soaring Eagle team dominated the Ravens 24-9 in what Judd called a “phenomenal game” by his squad to set up the state championship game against Bear River, Prosper and senior Kyra Hoffman both netted two goals in the title matchup to lead the offense.
“We really struggled to finish strong,” Judd said. “Credit to Bear River who showed up and played well under super hot conditions. It was a tough game as a coach, but we just simply ran out of gas. But, I’m so proud of our girls.”
Prosper led the team in scoring this season with 68 goals and 26 assists while senior captain Gracie Bathurst, who will play for Westminster next year, along with senior Julia Hettinger each recorded 33 goals this spring.
In his first year heading up the Juan Diego program—after assisting during the 2018 and Division II title-winning 2019 season—Judd said he “got dealt a really good hand” with 14 seniors and knew this group had a good chance to be there at the end.
In addition to Bathurst, Hettinger, Hoffman, Strelow and Swales-Christensen, those seniors also included captain Morgan Dawson, “one of the team’s best defenders,” according to Judd, in Caroline Arceneaux, first-year goalie Emilie Etchart, foreign exchange students Tinasy Wang and Lisa (Jiyayi) Zhu and Taryn Easterbrook, Kesley Poulsen, Ashlynn Sandberg and Grace Sims.
“From the beginning, I was so impressed with how our more experienced players pulled in the beginner players,” Judd said. “It not only unified the team, but it made everyone better.”
Also on the 14-5 team were impact players Julie Holly, Alex Moreno and Annette Rodriguez along with Sarah Azar, Sierra Clark, Isabel Hopkins, Sam Horner and foreign exchange students Tamaku Fukui and AJ (Daria) Sumenkova.
Judd was assisted on the staff this season by former JDCHS players Camille Arceneaux and Gina Colosimo.
“We had a great year,” Judd said. “The girls just did awesome, especially with all the injuries and craziness. We all learned a ton and I am excited to continue building for the future of this program.”