Girls varsity lacrosse prepares for the first individual season in program history

Girls varsity lacrosse prepares for the first individual season in program history

Joe Murdock, Sports Reporter

The girls varsity lacrosse team is going to compete this year separately from the other two Forest Hills schools for the first time in program history. In previous years, the lacrosse team was called Forest Hills United. The team consisted of girls from Forest Hills Central, Northern, and Eastern. Last season was supposed to be the first year where FHC had its own team. MHSAA demanded that FHC split off from the combined program likely due to an increase in players from Central. As a result of Covid-19, the girls had their 2020 season stripped along with the rest of the spring sports. This year, the girls have to prove themselves as legitimate contenders in the state. 

In 2019, the program struggled against opponents such as East Grand Rapids and Rockford. Both East and Rockford are always in the mix for the state title. The freshmen at the time, Julia Brown, Sophie Hartl, and Sofia Debano contributed throughout the season, yet fell short of the team’s goals. 

The program has grown significantly since the 2019 season. The team only has two returning varsity players from that 2019 season. While young, the team has some extremely skilled underclassmen such as Delaney Smith, Gabby Hendricks, and Shannon Murphy. 

“We are a very young team,” sophomore Sophie Hartl said. “We have no seniors and only three juniors, but we are still looking to be pretty competitive.” 

The Rangers lost key players in Bella Piccione Rachel Nicholson who graduated in the Spring of 2020. The captains left a mildly undeveloped squad. With no seniors, it is up to the junior leaders of this team to steer the program in the right direction. 

“We are lucky to have so many underclassmen that are highly skilled,” Sophie commented. “I can’t wait to see them perform and contribute to the team.”

The girls have a tough schedule this season. The Rangers play Rockford, Detroit Country Day, East Grand Rapids, Spring Lake, and Skyline who all have solid girls lacrosse programs. 

“I would have to say that I’m the most excited to finally be able to see the girls play together and come together as a team both on and off the field.” coach Mamo said. 

The Rangers’ first game of the season is a big one. The girls will face off against West Ottawa who is a relatively new opponent for the Rangers. 

“The girls have been waiting a long time for this year and have been working really hard in preparation for their first season,” head coach Zoe Mamo said. 

Forest Hills Central athletic director Clark Udell is extremely excited about the program debut. Udell was the first girls soccer coach at FHC and has been waiting for the lacrosse team to separate and become only Ranger-oriented.

“I don’t know how many times you get to be apart of the first game in program history,” Udell commented. “I’m very excited, it’s been a long time since we have done that. We have a great lacrosse tradition at Forest Hills Central, I think our girls program is going to maintain that.”