Park junior Sara Lessans was just about unstoppable in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference girls lacrosse championship game against Friends.
Lessans shot the ball with pinpoint accuracy, finishing six of seven shots in the Bruins' 15-12 triumph at Gerstell Academy in Finksburg on May 11 after a variety of feints and dodges left Quaker defenders reeling.
The 2013 Baltimore Messenger girls lacrosse player of the year's six goals led all scorers in the final.
"If someone's shot is really on, you give them the ball," Lessans said. "When the game started, I saw my opportunities right away."
Lessans, whose teammates fed off her intensity, became obsessed with leading Park to a title after Friends embarrassed the Bruins, 16-7, in last season's final.
"I just really wanted that win," said Lessans, who also won four draws in a competitive game-long battle in the circle with Friends sophomore standout Rachel Kehoe. "I really came out fired up because we lost last season. I would definitely say I was on a mission. It was always on my mind during practices and games."
The Bruins especially needed a breakout season from the 5-foot-5 Lessans after last year's leading scorer, Jenna Janes, transferred to Roland Park Country School.
Lessans delivered, leading the Bruins in goals (52) and assists (38).
The three-year starter had 135 goals in a career that included a season-high seven goals in a 14-10 win over the Institute of Notre Dame in late March.
"I think the year she had was absolutely fantastic," Park coach Robin Lowe said. "She really grew as an athlete and lacrosse player. In her first two years, she probably forced the ball more often than she should have. This year, she was really, really solid with the ball. When she could beat her defender, she did. When teams doubled her, she was able to pass the ball off."
For the third straight year, Lessans led the team in draw controls, grabbing 45 while alternating with senior midfielder Hannah Sibel.
Lessans is being recruited by Division I and III schools, Lowe said.
"There are so many things she does besides putting the ball in the goal that are really important to our team's success," the coach said. "We usually started the game with her on the circle. We would use one of our specialists to take the draw and have her battle for it on the circle. When we needed to change things around, we had her take the draw."
Lessans, who also starts on Park's soccer and basketball teams, should be a strong candidate to be captain of the lacrosse team next spring.
"She really asserted herself out on the field," Lowe said. "I think the kids looked up to her. This year, she managed her voice much better, instead of speaking at and yelling at kids."
Lessans added: "I definitely think I was more of a leader on the field this year. I think my game has matured."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun