By Tom Worgo, email@example.com
9:11 AM EDT, April 28, 2014
When Friends fourth-year girls lacrosse coach Mandy Hudson says her Quakers don't have one star scorer, she means it's a good thing. That's because a leading scorer can be stopped in a given game.
But what can be done when a number of players in the Friends' starting lineup are capable of scoring?
Teams in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference haven't been able to come up with an answer this spring.
The first-place Quakers, boasting a 13-1 record in the eight-team league, are averaging a league-best 15.8 goals per game behind the play of sophomore attacker Marli Caplan (44 goals, 10 assists), senior midfielder Abigail Corkum (William & Mary recruit, 35, 21), freshman Irene Lunt (24, 16), senior defender Kailie Saudek (25, 9) and junior midfielder Rachel Kehoe (UMBC, 48-15).
The high-scoring offense is a big reason why Friends is the favorite to win the league championship at Stevenson University on May 11.
"One of our goals is to have a dynamic and balanced attack," Hudson said. "I think we have that with the scorers that we have. If we have someone who is double-teamed, they can just dish it off to someone who can do a great job of putting the ball in the net as well."
Hudson, whose team lost in the final last year and won the title in 2012, says what makes her offensive leaders so tough to defend is the variety of ways they can put the ball in the back of the goal.
"Everyone of our scorers is a different type of scorer," Hudson explained. "Some like to ride the crease, some come in from the top, some like double teams and dish the ball off and get it back."
Seton Keough assistant coach Joey Haines constantly watched the Quakers run by his defenders in 16-7 and 15-8 losses in early and mid-April, respectively.
"Friends' biggest asset is its speed," he said. "They are the fastest team in the league.
"All their girls have excellent stick skills both left-handed and right-handed and they are beautiful at dodging."
When a team averages as many goals as Friends, it's easy for the defensive players to get overlooked.
But it's hard to ignore the play of senior goalie Rose Woolson, a four-year starter who will play at Davidson University next year.
Woolson, who also plays basketball and tennis at Friends, is probably the best netminder in the league.
"I love her focus, concentration, dedication and ability to keep learning," said Friends assistant coach Anne McGinty, who works with the Quakers' goalies. "She never settles for the fact that she's good enough. She always tries to figure out new ways to be better."
Woolson must have a lot of confidence in her defense, which is spearheaded by sophomores Sarah Corcoran and Anne Green, Saudek and seniors Isabel Blalock and Mackenzie Gerrity. They've allowed a league-low 104 goals.
"They are a very physical team this year, which is not as typical," said Park coach Robin Cardin Lowe, whose team beat Friends in the championship game last year.
The Quakers won't soon forget that loss, especially with the playoffs starting May 5.
They still feel the pain.
"It is in the back of our minds," Kehoe said.