When Meg Milliman took over the Friends girls lacrosse program in January, she looked to bring a college-style environment and work ethic to the team.
The cohesiveness the former Wells College coach aimed for was on full display Monday, as her Quakers defeated Concordia Prep, 19-8.
Milliman’s philosophy is to never take any opponent lightly. Her team sure didn’t Monday.
“We never want to underestimate anyone,” Milliman said. “We want to make sure that we’re coming out with it in our heads that we’re playing the best team in the country. I never want them to think they have a game in-hand before the first draw and we want to make sure that we’re coming out hard and fast.”
Junior Paige Saudek scored four goals for Friends, including three in the first half. She started her team off with two goals within the first five minutes of play.
Saudek said her goal every game is for her and her teammates to push the pace.
“I think that ultimately, we want to come out fast,” she said. “We want to come out and score to have that first step. It’s an away game for us, so it’s important for us to come out, scare the other team and make sure that they know it’s going to be a good game. The team needs to come out being ready to work because we had three games last week. We haven’t had a practice since our last game and it’s definitely hard.”
Running with Saudek was sophomore Carlie Koch, who also scored four goals. Koch got things going in the first half with back-to-back goals, added a third later in the half and tallied a fourth in the waning minutes of the game. Her strategy was to continue attacking, just like the rest of her team continued to do.
“I love lacrosse, I’ve been playing it my whole life. I love my team and I love for us to win together,” Koch said. “We practice five days a week for two hours and we practice a lot of different drills, so we know a bunch of different drills to go around — which ones will work and which one doesn’t. We’re all very good friends and we love communicating with one another to get the ball around.”
Saudek started off the game with a goal with 24 minutes left in the first half. She was answered by Concordia Prep’s Kelsey King (23:10). Saudek (21:38) and King (20:13) traded goals again before Christina McLoughlin scored at the 19:45 mark. Saudek immediately answered with her third goal of the game (18:57).
Koch scored her first (18:24) and second (17:27) goals before Samantha Wilkins got on the board for Friends (17:09). McLoughlin (15:37) and Rachel Millspaugh (13:00) then scored to give Friends a 9-2 lead. Concordia Prep got back on the board with Maddie Godat’s goal (12:34).
Saudek scored her fourth goal with 11:52 remaining in the half, McLoughlin answered (11:35) and Koch scored (9:05) for Friends to lead 12-3. King scored for Concordia Prep (8:15), but Mani Carnes scored with a running clock for the Quakers to take a 14-4 lead. Concordia Prep scored with 4:58 remaining on a Maddie Hieber goal to trail 14-5.
Wilkins scored to restart the running clock, but King scored her fourth goal (20:13) to stop the clock with the Saints trailing 15-6. Analiese Weber scored to keep the clock running for the Quakers, but King scored her fifth goal (11:52) to stop it once more. Hieber scored for the second time (9:04) for Concordia Prep to cut the lead to 16-8.
Koch (6:49), Carnes and Anna Wallengren finished off the game for Friends for the 19-8 victory.
Concordia Prep (0-9) coach Carlyn Stefanelli’s team fought through the game without the usage of substitutions. Having to teach her young team lessons this season is all a part of making the team better.
“I think we’ve learned a lot of hard lessons that I don’t think we would’ve learned if we weren’t in this position up until now,” Stefanelli said. “We have a very young team. So, we are graduating some seniors, but we have a ton of strong freshmen and sophomores, even juniors that have learned a lot because of the competition that we’ve seen and some of the hard losses that we’ve had to take on.”