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North Atlanta girls’ lacrosse making strides
by Greg Oshust
March 20, 2014 12:38 PM | 3021 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal / North Atlanta's Lucy Saltmarsh (15) drives towards the goal during the Warriors' game with Southwest DeKalb last Wednesday.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal / North Atlanta's Lucy Saltmarsh (15) drives towards the goal during the Warriors' game with Southwest DeKalb last Wednesday.
North Atlanta’s young girls’ lacrosse program continues to make strides in its third season of varsity competition.

The Warriors are 4-3 overall and 1-2 in Area 4AAAAA-A, and coach Darren Greenlee is encouraged by the progress his team has made so far.

“We have a lot of new girls and we have six seniors, so we have a lot of experience on the team,” Greenlee said. “The captains are definitely solid with their leadership, so we’re pretty excited about our development so far.”

After starting out as a club team in 2011, when it went 10-2 and won the North Georgia Lacrosse League championship, North Atlanta finished 2-8-1 in its inaugural GHSA season in ’12 and was 3-9 last year.

Greenlee, in his second year as coach, said he is encouraged by how the program has grown in such a brief time.

“A lot of the girls who played last year — it was their first year playing,” Greenlee said. “They practiced over the summer and I think some of them went to camps, so the difference between last year and this year is like night and day.”

Community coach Kelsey Gilman said she is impressed with how the senior players have stepped up as leaders and how quickly the younger players have developed.

“We have some good leadership,” Gilman said. “We have some great girls who are really helping the younger girls mold their games. We’ve got some girls who have been playing for a while and we have some girls who came out last year for the first time and are now our main goal scorers. We’ve been able to take low fundamental players and turn them into great lacrosse players. We have a lot of girls who are really working on it and improving their skills. It’s fun to see, actually.”

Senior attacker and co-captain Lucy Saltmarsh leads the team with 20 goals and four assists, while junior midfielder and co-captain Miriam Hayes (13 goals, four assists) and sophomore attacker Abigail Shipps (12 goals, four assists) are the other leading scorers.

Freshman Mani Sun (seven goals) and junior Ally Bellavia (five goals, two assists) have also contributed on the offensive side, while sophomore Dreshona Mapps-Whitmore (12 ground ball controls) leads the way on the defensive end.

Having already won the most games in a season in the program’s brief history, North Atlanta will now try to qualify for its first state playoff berth in a challenging 4A-AAAAA that includes state powerhouses Marist and St. Pius X.

“I really think that they do have the potential,” Gilman said.

“If they can get it together, they could really make it to state. We would have to beat some pretty good teams to get in. But, so far, we’re looking good.”

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