Welp, a year later and I’m the last person to post essentially this same topic last year, but I wanted to do it again; I’m Chris Vanni, coach of the Lower Merion Girls team - so my knowledge of teams is much more Philly focused and I love my girls so I am definitely biased. But hopefully a useful look from someone who got to play most of the top teams in PA this year - PA had a lot of wonderful players I’d love to highlight so :
Player of the State (not a real thing, but I wanted to lead off with it):
She caught 20 goals at States and added another 7 assists. Saved her most impressive game for the finals, with two possession-saving layouts in the first couple points, one in the back of the end-zone for a goal, plus a very impressive and emphatic sky to take half. Her height and reach warps the field, as a mark, as a deep defender, and as a deep threat.
Bethany Eldridge (LM #31)
Sarah Lipson (LM #10)
Our most dangerous handler this year, threw 23 goals at states, catching another 5 goals herself. Has a stronger will to win than most, and saved some of her best hucks for states. More athletic than I think some people realize also; can stay with many players in a straight sprint, and can make up a lot of room downfield in zone D or on hucks, and can punish lazy or slow defenders upline.
Layne Dodge (Radnor #15)
Just so explosive, she went up for discs in traffic and came down with them; would catch in-cuts if you gave her that and then beat you with deep throws.
Robyn O’Halloran (Haverford #01)
A deep deep we couldn’t sneak anything past, and she’d pick it up and put it long all day if you had anything short of your best mark on her or let anyone get at all open.
Mariko Kishimoto (LM #17)
Cuts like a club player already. Has the speed, cuts, and jumps to get open and get the disc if it’s not a perfect throw. Consistent with the disc as well, whether that’s firing a dishy pass right back to go back downfield, or looking downfield and surveying from a deep shot to a quick under. Also an incredibly positive force on the rest of the team, from keeping people excited and intense, to sharing useful tips and information to newer players to get them playing right.
Lisa Shore (LM #37)
Was asked to take on some new roles this year and did so well; was kind of a secondary cutting option last year that had to play deep-deep in our zone, handle, and still cut deep all year, and played all of those positions beautifully.
Kelly Harrigan (LM #09)
Stepped up this year in a huge way; got a very large number of touches for a non-handler, was sure-handed with the disc, rarely turning it over, and helped our offense keep moving and chew up yards.
C.J. Dawson (Radnor #57)
Fast, tall, jumps, throws downfield. C.J. has it all.
Julie Lee (Radnor #67)
Dangerous upline cutter, Radnor’s offense was great when it ran through her. Also a smart defender; we threw way too many discs into her poaches.
Mary Grace Antonich (North Allegheny #88)
Emma Phelps (North Allegheny #13)
Mary Grace and Emma (may have mixed up their numbers, can’t find those notes) touch the disc an obscene amount of times every time I’ve seen them play. If it’s stall 9 and there’s a 3-inch window, they’ll put it back and forth to each other through it every time - successfully! And then when a break opportunity presents itself - zoom, that disc is around our mark or through our cup or deep downfield.
Yara El-Khatib (North Allegheny #12)
She was the shorter of two deep-deeps that played for them, but her athleticism and tenacity scared us quite a bit, and she got the disc when she needed it on offense.
Victoria Mountz (Fox Chapel #17)
Great throws; whether threw a cup or around a mark,
Elizabeth Heidenreich (Fox Chapel #24)
I could be overheard saying “#24 is killing us” a few times in pool play at states. She made an entire highlight reel of phenomenal catches against us, either catching it above us in traffic, or bidding past bidding defenders and coming up with it.
Christina Holgado (LM #33)
Sarah dominated our backfield touches, but Christina was a consistent handler as well, and added tenacious defense, running through all manner of discs as either a wing, a defender, or in the cup.
Olivia Thornton (LM #05)
Stepped it up this year as well, became a trusted handler who would both throw the disc downfield with confidence, and throw her body around on offense to catch up-lines or errant dumps, and on defense to go for discs against girls much bigger than her.
Emily Han (Radnor #74)
Shoutout to Emily who was injured a lot of this season but is just so fast, and consistently threw her body around to get that disc.
Christina O’Halloran (Haverford)
Robyn to Christina made up a huge percentage of Haverford’s successful offensive plays, and the younger sister deserves some credit for that as well.
Mary Grace Antonich
Freshman of the year (not a real thing, and I’m sure I missed some girls I didn’t know were freshman but I thought it’d be fun):
Claire Fukuchi (Radnor #10)
Injured from the end of the fall to the beginning of the spring, but began with a bid with the greatest bid I saw this year at KitKat in the fall, and continued to be a dangerous cutter in the spring.
Sheldon Ennis (Radnor #18)
Dangerous cutter who threw it downfield aggressively as well.
Simone Cruice-Barnett (SLA #99)
May have been SLA’s best player, and is only a freshman, with throws all over the field and legitimate cutting chops. Excited to see what she does.