JDCHS girls LAX season ends in state semis; boys in quartersJul 03, 2023 09:44AM ● By Catherine Garrett
The Juan Diego Catholic High School girls lacrosse team finished in the final four at the 4A state tournament May 23. (Photo courtesy Jessica Davies Photography)
With one of the state’s—and nation’s—top players in sophomore attacker Olivia Prosper, the Juan Diego Catholic High School girls lacrosse team reached the 4A state semifinals before losing a close one 14-13 to second-ranked Mountain Crest May 23.
The Soaring Eagle squad also finished in the state’s top four despite have 10 brand new players on its 18-player roster, including six freshmen who were needed at the varsity level right away.
“Even though we lost in the semis, I could not be more proud of my team on how they came together,” said head coach Shaun Judd.
In the state quarterfinal round, No. 3 Juan Diego hosted sixth-seeded Ridgeline May 20 and won 20-15. Prosper was part of 18 of the team’s 20 goals, scoring 15 of them and assisting on three others. Also contributing offensively were senior Julie Holly with four goals and three assists, sophomore Sarah Azar with one goal and two assists and senior Annette Rodriguez with four assists.
Against the Mustangs in the semifinals, Prosper scored eight goals and had one assist while Holly (four goals, one assist) and Rodriguez (one goal, three assists) were also part of the offense.
“It was a successful year,” Judd said, noting that the team’s chemistry was particularly evident during the final five games—in which they had three one-goal games, winning two of them. “They worked together, they trusted each other, they helped each other and lifted each other up when mistakes happen, and celebrated every person’s accomplishment as a team.”
In 14 games this season, Prosper scored 121 goals, leading the entire state through all classifications in averaging nearly nine goals a game, while also recording 28 assists, which was fourth highest in the state.
“Olivia is one of the best players in the state and 11th in the nation, and she had to work and be patient with new players,” Judd said.
Holly also scored 44 goals and dished out 20 assists on the year for the 10-4 JDCHS squad.
“Julie has one of the highest percentage of ground balls in the state,” said Judd, also crediting freshman goalie Hannah Haney for her “unheard of” above 50% save rate in the cage.
“We played most of our season with two subs due to injuries which meant that most players were in the whole game without a rest. This also made practice very difficult because we didn’t have a JV team to practice against,” Judd said. “We also have three exchange students from Japan and one special needs player. This made practices that much harder.”
Also on the JDCHS team this season were seniors Amy Caton and Kanori Watanabe; juniors Sierra Clark, Sam Horner, Alex Moreno, Maimiti Paroto and Mia Perez-Ventura; sophomores Hope Lowery and Futaba Tomae; and freshmen Penny Avalos, Jocelin Diaz, Ella Fortune, Kaitlin Hulverson and Gaby Pappas.
“My philosophy [along with assistant coach Amanda Abraham-Timkin] is to build a team that is a family,” Judd said. “We focus on giving the girls a safe place to belong where we can teach new skills in a positive manner.”
The boys team also entered the 4A state playoffs as the third seed and hosted sixth-ranked Green Canyon May 20, losing 8-7 in overtime.
The Soaring Eagle squad was down 5-1 during the game before charging back to take the lead at 7-6, but “had a few unfortunate breaks in the game,” according to head coach Greg Stamatov, in the loss.
Second Team All-Region player Mason Kegel led the team with three goals while Second Team All-Region midfielder Angelo Lewis (one goal, one assist), Alijah Bendinger (one goal), First Team All-Region senior attacker Lance Ebner (one goal), Tommy Filidore (one goal), First Team All-Region junior midfielder Aidan Wigton (one goal), Andrew King (one assist) and Second Team All-Region freshman attacker Noah Schuyler (one assist) also contributed offensively.
“Our players showed true grit and heart by playing hard to the last moment,” he said.
Ebner was Juan Diego’s scoring leader this season with 33 goals while also recording 14 assists as the team’s top facilitator. Wigton add 22 goals and Schuyler 18 with Lewis dishing out 10 assists. Also key for the Soaring Eagle this year were Region 4A South Defensive Players of the Year Joe Funes and senior Jacob Anderson, First Team All-Region juniors Westin Eder and Austin Lund and Second Team All-Region sophomore defender Will Conley.
“We had a fantastic group this year and showed resilience all season long. We also had some memorable wins this year and some great moments,” said Stamatov, noting one-goal wins over Judge, Waterford and Skyridge during the year as some highlights this past spring.
Also on the JDCHS squad that went 9-7 this season were seniors Alijah Bendinger, Matthew Chiazzese, Jacob Cusick, Tommy Filidore, Mateo McCullough, Brayden Ortega and Lucas Slobodnic; juniors Peter Azar, James Curran, Juan Diaz, Zach Drent, Andrew King, Revan Lee, Angelo Lewis, Liam Pool, Tommy Rock and Aidan Wigton; sophomores Ethan Maxedon, Roman Rossano, Miles Sears and Daniel Sosa; and freshmen Zach Apgar, Brandon Backman, Jose Calderon, Nicholas Carvalheiro, Loklan Cruz, Jack Cunningham, Deng Deng, David Hafner, Aidan Janiga, Chris Jimerson, Hunter Landers, Mario Maestas, Michael Moore, Trey Nicolodemos, Cuauhtemoc Pedroza, Colton Pugmire, Sebastian Ramirez and Liam Ross.
Stamatov was assisted on the coaching staff by Nathan Tack, Ryan Baker and Brad Tack.λ