During Julie Frank's first year as coach of the Walt Whitman High School girls lacrosse team, the Vikings have endured an inconsistent season on the scoreboard.
But one thing has remained constant: the team's ability to share the ball on offense.
“It's one the proudest things we've accomplished this year,” Frank said. “We've worked so hard in not having to rely on just one or two girls and we've developed a pretty balanced attack. It is not unusual for six to 10 girls to score in a game.”
Whitman's offensive versatility was on display Friday as six different players accounted for the Vikings first six goals of the game en route to a 16-7 victory against Seneca Valley in Bethesda.
Seniors Clara Schneider (3 goals), Sarah Backenstoe (2) and Lara White (2), juniors Claire Block (6) and Marissa Hosker (1) and sophomore Josie Schwartz (2) all scored during a back-and-forth opening half that resulted in a 7-5 lead for the Vikings (5-6) at the break.
“We've really been working on assisting and sharing the ball because you can't win with 11 individual players on the field,” Block said. “We were a little sloppy throwing and catching early on. We picked it up and it worked.”
Block accounted for three of her game-high six goals during a decisive 5-0 run in the initial 10 minutes, 21 seconds of the second half. Whitman also possessed the ball for most of the final 25 minutes and limited the Screaming Eagles (5-6) to just two goals.
“It was just confidence,” Frank said. “They scored a couple against us and had an early [3-1] lead. But the girls didn't hang their heads.”
Breanna Henderson led Seneca Valley with three goals and Michelle Mattern and Hayley Dutton each scored twice.
“We just came out gassed and weren't ready to play,” Screaming Eagles coach Marcus Jurado said. “This was a game we definitely thought we could win. … It's a shame because we played lights out recently and were within a couple of goals against two good teams [Poolesville and Quince Orchard]. We just laid an egg today.”
It was the last game for both teams before Monday's regional playoff draw. While Seneca Valley is searching for an answer, the Vikings are confident they are peaking at the right time.
“We are definitely improved,” Block said. “We are ready for playoffs and we want to show people that we are better than our record indicates.”
Walt Whitman 16, Seneca Valley 7
Seneca Valley 5 2 — 7
Walt Whitman 7 9 — 16
ScoringSeneca Valley (5-6): Michelle Mattern 2, Hayley Dutton 2, Breanna Henderson 3
Walt Whitman (5-6): Clara Schneider 3, Marissa Hosker 1, Sarah Backenstoe 2, Claire Block 6, Josie Schwartz 2, Lara White 2