If you haven’t already heard, Fayette has arrived on the scene in lacrosse. Ascending for years, the county now stands at the top of the mountain among all of the sport’s traditional powers thanks to a history-making season. Along with the completion of a successful campaign comes our All-County Lacrosse honors.
It was a thrilling year throughout, as seven out of eight teams made the postseason and five won at least one playoff game. Standing above the pack were the Starr’s Mill Lady Panthers, who made history, not just for their school or county, but the whole south side as they became the first team below I-20 to win a state lacrosse championship.
Leading the way for her title-winning team and our awards, Alyssa Angelo of Starr’s Mill is the Girls Player of the Year. Angelo, a Winthrop commit, quarterbacked the Panthers from the midfield, piling up 22 goals and 51 assists, along with 45 takeaways and 35 ground balls.
She was the heart and soul of the champions.
“Alyssa is the ultimate risk taker. She is able to push aside any potential doubt and prove to everyone it can and it will be done. She is relentless in everything she pursues because of her tremendous mental toughness,” said her coach, Mary Lehman. “I’ve heard other people make the comment, ‘Alyssa is just a natural born athlete.’ Although I cannot dispute this statement, I think Alyssa’s success is due to her acceptance of discomfort through commitment, discipline, and hard work both on and off the field all 12 months of the year. “
Fronting the boys side is not just one of the area’s best, but one of the best in the country. Garrett Meuninck of Starr’s Mill is the Boys Player of the Year. Just a junior, Meuninck has already established himself as one of the nation’s premier face-off specialists. This season he led the state in face-off percentage at 88 percent and broke the state record for career face-offs won. He posted 192 ground balls, 2 goals, and 5 assists en route to All-State and All-American honors.
A pair of dynamic first-year talents in Emma Grace Hepler of Starr’s Mill and Ryann Banks of McIntosh are Co-Freshmen of the Year. Hepler racked up 40 goals, 12 assists, 30 ground balls, and 18 takeaways. Banks quickly developed into an offensive weapon for the Chiefs on the attack, ranking among their team leaders in goals despite missing seven games.
When your team makes history, you deserve accolades. Mary Lehman of Starr’s Mill is the Girls Coach of the Year. The Lady Panthers cruised to 18 wins, dominated their playoff competition 90-29, and won the state championship.
Jeff Schmidlkofer of Starr’s Mill is the Boys Coach of the Year. Facing a brutally tough schedule, his Panthers rolled their way to 11 wins and a berth in the quarterfinals where they fell to the eventual state champions.
Left to honor are the other members of our All-County Lacrosse Teams.
Honorees from the state champion Starr’s Mill Lady Panthers are Ryanne King, Ansley Wallace, Jessica DeLuca, Lexi Santiago, and Karlee Jenks. King, a junior, racked up a ridiculous 98 goals and 25 assists. Wallace, a senior, posted 66 goals and 5 assists. DeLuca, a sophomore, notched 10 goals, 8 assists, 18 ground balls, and 11 takeaways. Santiago, sophomore, put up 21 ground balls and 20 takeaways. Jenks, a junior goalie, tallied 69 saves with a 44 percent save percentage.
McIntosh’s honorees are Sammy Morgan, Blaise deGolian, Lucy Stone, Kate Cullen, Chloe Minor, Kingsley Garrett, Cami Salaski, and Savannah Moore.
Fayette County’s honorees are senior attacker India Martin, senior midfield Chinendu Ogadi, and junior goalie/defender Elizabeth Marmo. Martin posted 11 goals and 2 assists. Ogadi notched 43 goals. Marmo racked up 164 saves with a 35 percent save percentage.
Whitewater’s honorees are Elle Buchanan, Emma Dix, Parker Lewis, Ally Reynolds, Olivia Starkey, Leah Folden, and Iyana Naas. Buchanan, a sophomore midfielder, posted 42 goals and 5 assists. Dix, a junior attacker, tallied 25 goals and 34 assists. Lewis, a junior midfielder, notched 53 goals and 8 assists. Reynolds, a junior midfielder, put up 17 goals and 5 assists. Starkey, a senior midfielder, posted 19 goals and 7 assists. Folden, a sophomore attacker, racked up 21 goals and 6 assists. Naas, a senior defender, posted 1 goal, 9 ground balls and 4 takeaways.
Representing the Starr’s Mill boys are attackers Cameron Herd, Gabe Lopez, and Christian Sparkman, midfielders Reid Harrison, Cole Bishop, and Addison Long, defenders Rhett Jones, Eric Fewell, and Carson Lester, long stick middie Jacob Zellen, and goalie Derek Saylor.
Herd notched 33 goals, 20 assists, and 23 ground balls. Lopez posted 29 goals, 17 assists, and 17 ground balls. Sparkman put up 19 goals, 13 assists, and 27 ground balls. Harrison racked up 27 goals, 10 assists, and 28 ground balls. Bishop tallied 15 goals, 16 assists, and 32 ground balls. Long notched 18 goals, 6 assists, and 14 ground balls. Jones posted 19 ground balls, 8 takeaways, 2 goals, and 1 assist. Fewell racked up 25 ground balls and 17 takeaways. Lester captained the defense and tallied 8 ground balls and 3 takeaways. Zellen posted 27 ground balls, 6 takeaways, 5 goals, and 2 assists. Saylor was the Panthers backbone in goal, posting 50 saves and a 43 percent save mark.
McIntosh’s honorees are Jabari Holifield, Brooks Baro, Colton Hayes, Bryan Kemp, Cooper Roman, Logan Sandal, Carter Boicourt, Ben Anderson, Ryan Foncannon, and Huck McCollum.
Holifield, a junior attacker, posted 44 goals, 21 assists, 33 ground balls, and 7 takeaways. Baro, a junior attacker, notched 69 goals, 38 assists, 52 ground balls, and 7 takeaways. Hayes put up 49 ground balls and 23 takeaways. Kemp racked up 26 goals, 11 assists, 43 ground balls, and 6 takeaways. Roman put up 26 goals, 17 assists, 22 ground balls, and 2 takeaways. Sandal tallied 25 goals, 16 assists, 87 ground balls, and 8 takeaways. Boicourt put up 24 goals, 3 assists, 56 ground balls, and 17 takeaways. Anderson notched 62 ground balls and 6 takeaways. Foncannon posted 44 ground balls and 11 takeaways. McCollum, a senior goalie, posted 118 saves and a 53 percent save percentage.
Fayette County’s honorees are attacker Micah Franco, midfielder Matt Schiro, defensive midfielder Sean Hauck, defender Cameron McDaniel, and goalie Ethan Hedden.
Whitewater’s honorees are senior goalie Isaac Bohrer, senior attacker Jackson Bonner, sophomore midfielder Grant Owen, sophomore midfielder Cooper Kleppinger, senior attacker Jeremy Poitevint, sophomore midfielder Trevor Golubeff, sophomore midfield/face-off Ethan Golovach, and junior long stick middie Casey Gibson.
To see more photos from lacrosse season, click here.