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Tiger girls’ lacrosse ready to defend title

Bryce Evans
summit daily news

FARMER’S KORNER – Despite being the lone senior on the team, Heidi Gruber said there’s definitely no separation between grades on the Summit High girls’ lacrosse team.

And really, if the Tigers hope to achieve their goals, they will have to do it as a single unit.

“We want to be a team, and that’s a key, really, to go as far as we can and being able to produce,” she said.

Summit lost a slew of seniors off last season’s Mountain League championship squad. The Tigers may not have the firepower they had a year ago, but with a strong group of juniors stepping into bigger roles, Summit looks poised to win back-to-back titles.

“I think we’re right there with them,” SHS head coach Kristen Elliott said of last year’s team. “It’s going to be interesting to see how (today) goes. It should be a good judge of where we’re at.”

Summit opens the season today at home against Golden, a strong squad from the Metro League. The non-conference matchup gives the Tigers a chance to get the first-game jitters, as Elliott called them, out of the way before league play starts.

Most likely, only the winner of the Mountain League will earn a spot in the state playoffs, as most slots in the postseason are filled by Front Range schools.

Making it to tournament play – and advancing far once they’re there – is the main goal the Tigers have this spring.

Elliott said the method of achieving that is relatively simple.

“We have to play real tough defense, and our attackers need to execute and score goals,” she said. “We need to be really aggressive.”

Gruber, junior Emily Bilenduke and sophomore goalie Chelsea Christianson will be the anchors of the Summit defense, which Elliott said is probably the team’s strong point.

On offense, juniors Ivy Marshall and Kelly Joyce will be the ones the Tigers will look to for a scoring punch.

“I think we have to work as a team, because we lost a lot of really good seniors,” Marshall said. “If we just pass a lot and run our system, we’ll be good.”

In all, the Tigers lost eight seniors off their 17-girl varsity roster, but Gruber feels team unity will win over having a few star players.

“We have a core of girls that have played together since seventh or eighth grade, so we just have to get back to doing those types of things we have (in the past few seasons),” she said.


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